Dental Implants and Age

Does the age factor for implants exist?

In the upper (Maxillary) or lower (Mandibular) arches of the mouth, dental implants are small, titanium, screw-shaped threaded cylinders that are placed into the bone. They are used to replace, or to stabilise dentures, one or many missing teeth. Smile Today has some nice tips on this. Titanium is an inert metal capable of establishing a very close bond with the bone. In other operations, such as knee or hip replacements, titanium is used—so it is a proven surgical component.

The implant acts like the root of a natural tooth, and to hold the implant firmly in place, the bone actually forms around a special coating on the implant. This mechanism is known as osseointegration. A crown is then attached to an abutment which is connected to the implant with the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. The ‘abutment’ between the implant and the crown is simply a tiny connecting component.

In cases where multiple missing teeth are present, or where the patient has previously had dentures, multiple implants are inserted in the mouth to allow implant-assisted crowns or bridges, overdentures retained from the ball abutment, and/or overdentures supported by the bar.

The success rate for dental implants is very high, and implants will rarely fail with proper care, good dental hygiene, and a healthy lifestyle. Today, of all routine surgical procedures carried out, dental implants are the most successful surgical procedure. Hundreds of thousands of implants have been installed over the past 30 years. There are still many of the ‘original’ implants functioning without problems. Since the first implants were installed, technology and procedures have advanced significantly. An unhealthy lifestyle (smoking), or poor dental hygiene, can be attributed to some failed implants. “Dental Implants have been shown in some cases to have a greater than 98 percent success rate.” (Dental Economics, AAID Implant Insight Newsletter).

A far more important factor is the health of the patient than the age of the patient. In patients in their teens, dental implants have been put in place. In patients in their 80s, implants have also been put in, allowing them a new lease on life. They have achieved better nutritional standards as a consequence, and appear physically younger. In cases where the bone was insufficient for the placement of implants, new techniques and advances in implant dentistry allow the practitioner to increase bone structure. So even if you have lost teeth many years ago, or for many years have worn traditional dentures, and have subsequently lost some bone mass, bone augmentation will reverse this.