Studies have already proven that dental implants have a major impact on people’s self-esteem. There’s nothing like a full set of chompers to really make you want to flash a smile at everyone around you.
However, many older people who’ve lost teeth worry about dental implants failing to take because of their advanced age. And while there has been research that shows that implant procedures are much more likely to fail if you’re older, these don’t take into account that implant failures are a multi-factorial problem.
What this means is that there’s a whole set of factors that determine whether your implant procedure will succeed or not.
How Do Implants Even Work?
A dental implant involves a titanium cylinder that behaves as the root of the tooth, and in turn supports a crown that is fixed to it.
The titanium cylinder is surgically put into the jawbone. After which, over a few months, it integrates with the bone through a process known as osseointegration.
While this process is taking place, a screw cover is placed for protection on top of the implant. After the process is complete, a temporary crown takes its place, which is finally replaced with a permanent crown once the gum grows around it.
The next question to ask is, can you get one if you’re a senior citizen?
Are You a Senior Citizen Who Smokes?
There is conclusive evidence at this point which shows that smokers are far more likely to face dental implant failures. While it’s not a contraindication, most dentists do recommend that patients cut back on smoking at least a few weeks before the procedure.
If you’re an older person who smokes, your doctor may decide that going through with the procedure is not right for you. The reason for this is that bone density already decreases with age; and smokers face much greater marginal bone loss. This can result in the failure of the osseointegration process whereby the titanium posts integrates with the jaw bone.
Do You Have A Condition Like Osteoporosis?
Conditions like osteoporosis can lead to significantly lower bone density in patients. What this means is that the post is much less likely to osseointegrate with the jawbone.
Patients who have osteoporosis or another condition that leads to bone density loss are often told they cannot get implants by their dentists, although this varies based on how bad the condition is.
Can You Get Dental Implants If You’re A Senior Citizen?
So, can you get dental implants if you’re a senior citizen? The answer is a solid maybe. As mentioned in this article, this is a multi-factorial problem.
There have been many successful implant procedures done on people who are 80+ years of age. However, this is usually the case with older people who are otherwise in great health.
Make sure that you give your doctor a complete history of any health conditions or problems that you have faced. This way, they can guide you and tell you if you can get an implant or not.