Patients who experience tooth loss as older adults may be concerned that they are too old to get dental implants. Fortunately, as long as the patient has adequate bone tissue to complete osseointegration of the dental implant, there is no upper age limit for this treatment option.
There are certain restrictions on children and adolescents getting dental implants, however. This is because the implants cannot be predictably placed in a jaw that is still developing. That is, an oral surgeon could place the implant at a certain site, but it could easily shift out of position as the child’s jaw continues to grow. Children and teenagers may be able to get dental implants as part of an overarching orthodontic treatment plan in some rare cases. In general, though, younger patients should wait until jaw bone growth is complete (usually by the late teen years) before pursuing dental implant placement.
In adult patients, the most important factor in long-term dental implant success is not age but rather bone quality at the implant site. The appealing qualities of dental implants – stability and structural completeness – are due to the osseointegration process. If there’s not enough bone to form a strong bond with the dental implant, it will fail prematurely.
At your initial consultation, your oral surgeon will evaluate the quality of bone at the proposed implant site. If it is determined that previous bone loss could present a challenge to successful osseointegration, a bone graft may be recommended to make the patient a better candidate for this treatment.
Patients also must have good enough oral and overall health to tolerate the surgical procedure necessary for dental implant placement. If you have active gum disease, for example, that must be controlled before you can have the dental implants placed. Your surgeon will also assess your dental and medical histories as part of the consultation process.
Adult patients, even older ones, shouldn’t assume that their age disqualifies them from getting dental implants. Come to our office to have an evaluation and learn whether dental implants are feasible in your case.