Tags: Dental Implants
When adult teeth are lost, adjacent teeth and the jaw are left without the support they require. Without treatment, tooth loss can lead to issues such as jawbone degeneration, shifting teeth, and compromised oral functions.
Dental implants replace the crown and roots of a tooth to restore oral strength and functions, and prevent the loss of healthy jawbone tissues. Because of the numerous benefits that dental implants provide, they are one of the most popular solutions for tooth loss.
Unfortunately, age can affect dental implant treatment. As a result, not all of our Woodinville, WA, patients are candidates for this procedure. Dr. Ken D. Wu helps patients understand the connection between dental implant treatment and age, so that they know if this treatment is right for them.
How Age Affects Dental Implant Treatment
To understand how age can affect dental implant treatment, our patients need to understand the anatomy of a dental implant. Dental implants are made up of three parts: the implant, an abutment piece, and a dental restoration.
The implant is a tiny titanium screw that is surgically placed in the jawbone. The abutment is a small metal post that connects to the dental implant and protrudes from the gum line. The abutment connects the dental implant to a dental restoration. Dental implants can act as anchors for dental crowns, dental bridges, or dentures.
Once implants are in place, they heal and fuse with the tissues in the jaw so that they essentially become a permanent part of the jawbone. This process is called osseointegration. Osseointegration can only occur if the jaw is fully mature and is in good health.
The jaw does not fully mature until a person reaches young adulthood, and the jaw usually begins to lose some of its strength as a person reaches his or her senior years. Because of these issues, the state of the jawbone can affect a patient’s candidacy for dental implant treatment at different stages of their life.
Dental Implant Age Restrictions
Although many seniors have experienced some degree of jawbone degeneration, there is not an upper age limit for dental implant treatment. As long as our senior Woodinville patients are healthy enough to undergo surgery, they can have dental implants placed. However, if they have lost substantial bone structure, either as a result of aging or tooth loss, they will need to undergo a bone graft prior to implant treatment.
While there is not an upper age restriction for implant treatment, there is a minimum age requirement. Because the jawbone may shift and change as a person ages, dental implant treatment cannot be performed before the jaw has fully matured. The specific age that this occurs may vary slightly from one person to another, but generally a patient is not considered an ideal candidate for dental implant treatment until they are 17 or 18 years old.
Dental Implant Alternatives
If one of our Woodinville patients is not a good candidate for dental implant treatment, there are other alternatives to consider. Dr. Wu can go over options such as dental bridges or dentures, and help patients select a restoration that will rebuild their smile while meeting their unique needs and desires.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have experienced tooth loss and are interested in finding out the best way to restore your smile, Dr. Ken D. Wu can help. Call (425) 489-1177 to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.