Can I get dental implants at my age? I’ve worn dentures since I was 55, and now I am 73. I never thought about implants until seeing local TV commercials for a dental practice that does implants. I have longevity in my family, and if I live as long as my parents did, I have another 20 years of life. I am physically active, and dentures have never fit my lifestyle. Implants seem to make sense. Have I waited too long? Thank you. Sanford T.
Thank you for your question, Sanford.
Dr. LeSage would need to evaluate your oral health, and an oral surgeon or periodontist must take a 3-D CT scan of your teeth and jaw to determine if you qualify for implants. Still, your age alone will not prevent you from getting dental implants.
Do You Qualify for Implants at Your Age?
If you are in good oral and overall health and can maintain excellent oral hygiene, you likely qualify for implants in your senior years. Consider a few facts about long-time denture wearers and dental implants:
- Jawbone shrinkage progresses when all your teeth are missing, and the pressure from dentures on the jawbone accelerates shrinkage.
- An implant dentist or surgeon will measure your bone volume and determine if you need grafting.
- Bone grafts take about four months to heal.
- It takes about four months after implant placement for your bone and implants to fuse. Meanwhile, you can wear a temporary denture.
- When your jawbone and implants fuse, your dentist will expose the implants and allow time for your gums to heal around them.
- Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth for custom dentures and attach them when they are ready.
What to Expect if You Receive Dental Implants
Implant-supported dentures have these benefits:
- Stability – Your dentures will stay in place all day, even when you speak and eat.
- Maintenance – Implant dentures are easy to clean with nonabrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can flush out debris beneath the dentures with a water flosser.
- Facial appearance – Implants stimulate your jawbone and prevent premature facial sagging. Quality dentures and implants will give your face a gentle lift if you already have some facial sagging.
We recommend scheduling appointments with at least two cosmetic dentists to discuss your concerns and learn about your options for supporting your dentures with implants.
Beverly Hills accredited fellow of cosmetic dentistry Dr. Brian LeSage sponsors this post.