The elderly and dental implants

Times have changed and more people in their later years have become increasingly more active and health-conscious than previous generations. Due to this more active lifestyle, people are possibly not ready nor, in fact, willing to have a loose set of dentures fitted; perhaps they don’t want to have to worry about them falling out or they don’t want to feel limited by the change to their still active lives. Many may feel more confident with a secure set of dental implants. But what freedoms does this treatment offer and what limitations may people, who have lived a long life, expect when getting implants?

What are dental implants?

Dental Implants are a long-lasting treatment for missing teeth, no matter the reasons that may result in teeth falling out, whether it be age, injury or decay, it is possible to replace teeth with outstanding results, for a life full of smiles and favourite foods.

Once an unsalvageable natural tooth is properly extracted, a titanium implant can be placed into the jaw bone, in patients with osteoporotic conditions, these implants sometimes have a special coating that releases a silicone compound that helps regenerate the bone in that area. After surgery to place the implant, a waiting period is adhered to in order to give the bone a chance to fuse to the titanium this period can be anywhere from 4-6 months. When this time period has passed and the dentists decided it is safe to move forward a custom-made porcelain crown that matched the other teeth and is a convincing replica of natural teeth is fitted onto the implant giving a secure place in the mouth.

Bone structure of the elderly

There is a noted loss of bone mass in the jaw as people age and more so in menopausal women than in men – women experience a 1.5% loss per year and men only see a 0.9% loss. However, this doesn’t mean that implants are no longer an option; research on the viability of implants for older adults has been conducted, with promisingly high results. By using digital imaging technology, dentists are able to diagnose the quality of bone in each patient and the correct type of implant can be chosen where appropriate.

Benefits

The fact that that implants are permanent is a key benefit to undergoing this surgery, this permanency means that there is no need for concern that the teeth may fall out at embarrassing moments and life can be enjoyed to the fullest in terms of eating and chewing foods that dentures would find impossible.

Patients can rest in the comfort that their appearance is taken care of because the teeth that implants can support are as real looking and convincing as natural teeth. Patients can maintain good oral hygiene in the same way they did when they were younger because cleaning is done in the same way.

Having healthy strong teeth is an important element of continuing good eating habits, implants may help with this as people get older allowing them to enjoy the longevity which comes with being able to eat a nutritious diet for longer.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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