There's a minimum age limit for receiving a dental implant, and this relates to when the jaw stops growing. Dental implants have a fixed position and don't reposition themselves in line with jaw growth. As such, if an implant was placed in a jaw that's still growing, the implant and its false tooth would be dangerously misaligned by the time the jaw had reached adult size. However, your own teenage years may be well behind you, so you may be wondering—is there a maximum age limit for receiving a dental implant?
Your age itself won't be a factor, although certain age-related health conditions could be. You'll need to receive an x-ray to assess the health and general condition of your jaw. Although an acceptable standard of oral health is mandatory for the stability of a dental implant (so gum disease and comparable conditions must be managed), the primary concern with implants is the density of the bone.
The implant is deceptively simple and is little more than a small titanium screw. During implant surgery (which is brief, minor, and performed under local anesthetic), the titanium screw is placed in your jaw. The bone then heals around it, which is how an implant achieves its required stability. Post-healing, the implant will have a realistic prosthetic tooth attached. Because the implant acts as a tooth root anchored in the jaw, the prosthetic tooth has the same bite force as a natural tooth. So why might your particular bone density be in question?
Certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis have an impact on your suitability for an implant. The condition leads to fragility of the bone, which affects the strength of the interface between the implant and the bone it's placed in. The specifics are different for each patient, but your dentist will want to discuss the type and dosage of any bisphosphonate medication you're on. This medication helps to maintain bone density, and patients affected by osteoporosis who are taking the correct dosage of an appropriate oral bisphosphonate will experience a success rate similar to patients unaffected by osteoporosis.
You may require a course of preoperative antibiotics (known as antibiotic prophylaxis), and your dentist will likely want to assess you following the procedure to ensure that any osteonecrosis (loss of blood flow to the bone, leading to the death of bone tissues) is caught early so treatment can be performed.
There are critically important factors to consider when placing a dental implant in an older patient with osteoporosis. But your age and this common health condition can both be accommodated, allowing you to receive a dental restoration that's the next best thing to a natural tooth.
Contact your dentist to learn more about dental implant services.