You might be wondering if you’re too old for dental implants. Luckily, they’re just as safe and effective in older patients as they are in younger ones. Dental implants can increase the quality of life in older patients because they gain confidence when eating and smiling.
Since people are living longer, it’s common for many to lose their teeth to decay or disease when they reach 85 to 90 years old. People sometimes find themselves needing dentures though they can quickly become an annoyance when loose. Eating and smiling may prove difficult and even painful.
As we get older, socializing, eating good food, and making new memories become more important. That’s why the elderly shouldn’t waste time with dentures if they’re not working with their lifestyle. Dental implants are the perfect solution for people, no matter their age. They drastically improve quality of life through proper nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Even someone with only a few years of life expectancy can safely get dental implants!
While dental implants are great at any age, surgery always poses some risks.
Complications of Dental Implants in the Elderly
It’s important to note that the possible risks of dental implants range in their severity and depend on a number of factors.
Infection can occur at the site of the implant, causing inflammation and pain.
Damage to the surrounding dental implant like other teeth and blood vessels can happen.
Pain, tingling, numbness in teeth, lips, gums, or chin can occur.
Implants in the upper jaw can extend into one of the sinus cavities, causing discomfort.
The elderly have a slightly slower recovery time compared to younger patients. Expert dentists will make sure the process is gentler.
Dental Implant Risk Factors for Seniors
There are a few risk factors that could affect the outcome of the dental implant procedure in older patients.
Patients with cancer, diabetes, or gum disease are at risk for delayed healing. Likewise for those that smoke, take certain medications, or drink alcohol.
Dental implants are designed to fuse with existing bone. If a patient’s bone is not sufficient, extra steps need to be taken to make sure the implant fuses correctly.
Those taking medications for bone loss or osteoporosis might see complications as these medications affect the bone’s cells.
Not Following Directions
Paying close attention to the doctor’s instructions will help avoid dental implant failure and any possible complications.
Benefits of Dental Implants for Seniors
Older patients can find many great benefits to dental implants including:
- Better eating and increased nutrition
- Healthy and active lifestyle
- Low chance of bone loss
- Increased social life with friends and family
- Quality of life improvement
When dentists evaluate dental implant candidates, they look at overall, oral, and bone health as well as any pre-existing conditions that require certain medications. You’ll notice that age is not on that list!
In fact, a study found that implants in people over 65 saw a 91-97% survival rate over the course of 1, 3, 5, and 10 years.
So are dental implants safe for the elderly? Yes, but you should notify your dentist of any pre-existing conditions and medications you take beforehand. Also, make sure to follow your dentist’s instructions so you can start eating your favorite foods as soon as possible!