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Update: April 7, 2024 | Author: Dr. Ronald Pham | Publish: February 6, 2024

Worried It’s Too Late for Dental Implants? What You Need to Know

I recently had a patient ask me if it was too late for him to get dental implants. He’s worn dentures for over 5 years since losing his natural teeth, so he was hoping to replace them.

When is it too Late for Dental Implants? Age, Bone Loss, or overall health.

This is a common question I get in my dental practice.

Many patients wonder if age or time with missing teeth will make them unfit for dental implants.

Dental implants are great for many. But, they may not be right for all.

Your suitability depends on factors. These include your health, jaw bone density, and any medical conditions.

The best way to determine your eligibility for implants is to consult with your dentist.

If you’ve lost teeth, act. Get treatment soon. More bone means better implants and a restored smile.

In this article, Restoration Dental OC invites you to explore the key factors. They determine if you’re a good candidate for dental implants.

These restorations are versatile and offer several benefits. But, knowing when to use them will help ensure the best outcome.

Bone Loss and Preventing It

My patient had struggled with loose, uncomfortable dentures for over 5 years. When they started exploring dental implants, I explained that when teeth are lost.

The jawbone begins deteriorating. Without tooth roots to stimulate it, the bone loses density. This leads to faster atrophy.

After tooth extraction, each person will lose an average of about 25% of bone height in the first year. The more teeth you lose and the longer it takes, the more severe the bone loss becomes.

Dentures, bridges, or flippers can slow this atrophy. But, the best solution is to replace lost teeth soon.

Dental implants need strong jawbone integration for stability. The area needs a graft to rebuild if there is much bone loss. This must happen before placing implants.

Age Limitations and Health Concerns

No specific age disqualifies someone from implants. But, success chances drop as we get older due to bone loss. This means older patients may need more procedures.

They may need bone grafting to ensure a stable foundation for the implants. Underlying health conditions can also impact healing and implant success.

Younger, healthier candidates have good oral health. They also have enough bone density. They generally have the best outcomes with dental implants.

Losing many teeth due to gum disease or injury soon necessitates implants. This is to stop fast bone loss in middle age.

Advanced Gum Disease

Another factor that might affect your eligibility for dental implants is periodontal disease. In my experience, many long-time denture patients lost natural teeth at first. This was because of untreated gum disease.

Tissue irritation and bacteria keep healing from happening. They keep on doing so even after the teeth are removed. This slow loss of jawbone density makes it hard to anchor new implants.

Gum grafting restores healthy gums. It also rebuilds bone. Both are disinfected. First, we must correct atrophic deficiencies. Then, dental implants can stick well in healed sites.

Even with innovative planning, substantial crestal resorption may not fully regenerate. However, durable implant replacement solutions still emerge.

Impact of Smoking and Poor Oral Hygiene

Smokers and those with a history of gum disease have lower success rates. This is for several reasons:

Tobacco slows blood flow, hindering healing. Toxic chemicals in smoke may also inhibit bone integration.

Bacteria in gum infection damages the bone around teeth. This raises the risk of failure after tooth removal or implants.

Poor oral hygiene habits lead to both gum disease and tooth loss initially. After investing in new teeth with implants, lax homecare causes infection. It is in the area around the implants and supports.

Gum disease and infection must be fully treated before implants. Continuing to smoke and not cleaning implants well shortens their life. This leads to costly repairs or replacements.

In summary, it’s rarely too late for dental implants if adequate bone density remains. However, prolonged missing teeth lead to progressive jawbone loss, potentially preventing stable placement.

Other factors reduce success rates. These factors include age, health issues, smoking, and a history of gum disease. Still, with proper treatment beforehand, bone can regrow and tissues can heal.

This can help even long-time denture wearers become candidates. The key is to see a dentist soon after extractions. This will stop bone loss. It will also improve the chances of lasting replacement teeth supported by implants.

Acting quickly preserves bone volume that may be impossible to rebuild later on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you wait too long to get a dental implant?

Delaying a dental implant after tooth loss can lead to several issues. The most significant is bone loss in the jaw. The bone starts to shrink without the tooth root’s stimulation.

The bone loss can make future implants harder. They may need extra procedures, like bone grafting. Also, nearby teeth can shift into the gap. This can cause misalignment and bite issues.

Can I get a dental implant years after extraction?

Yes, it’s possible to get a dental implant years after tooth extraction. However, the amount of bone loss that has occurred since the extraction will be a critical factor.

Significant bone loss has occurred. Bone grafting or other preparatory procedures may be needed. They will create a stable base for the implant.

When should you not get dental implants?

Dental implants may not be advisable in certain situations, such as:

  • Conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or heart disease can slow healing. They also raise the risk of complications.
  • Without enough jawbone to anchor the implant, the success rate decreases. Bone grafting might be an option in some cases.
  • Gum Disease: Treat and control the active periodontal disease before getting implants.
  • Heavy smoking slows healing. It also raises the risk of implant failure.
  • Pregnancy: Elective dental procedures are generally avoided during pregnancy.

How long after tooth extraction can you get implants?

Ideally, dentists place implants within six months after a tooth is removed. This timeframe can vary based on individual healing and the condition of the jawbone. In some cases, they can place it right away. They can do this if conditions are good.

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Dr. Ronald Pham

Dr. Ronald Pham, DDS, is a Doctor of Dental Surgery who graduated from the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry in 2015. With over 8 years of experience in general dentistry, he specializes in Dental restoration, Root canal treatment, and Dental implants…

Dr. Pham has restored the smiles of +2,000 patients and is committed to providing professional dental care focused on patient comfort. He achieves this by combining a welcoming space and state-of-the-art dental technology.

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