21 Mar What Seniors Need to Know About Dental Implants
No matter what the stereotypes tell you, it’s not inevitable that you have to lose all your teeth and eat nothing but soft foods as you get older. Nor do you have to live with flapping dentures and take your teeth out every night like your parents or grandparents. Unless you have serious health problems, you’re a good candidate for dental implants at any age – as an adult. There is no such thing as “too old” for implants.
If you thought you shouldn’t get implants due to your age or that you couldn’t because of bone loss and other health concerns, think again. Dental implants don’t have an age limit, and it’s never too late to love your smile and enjoy your favorite foods again.
Osteoporosis, a bone disease that causes brittle bones and bone loss, is common in many older people, especially women who have gone through menopause. Women with osteoporosis have a very high chance of losing at least one tooth as a result of the disease. Because of the impact it has on bones and bone loss, many people think osteoporosis prevents them from getting dental implants.
In fact, patients with osteoporosis are just as likely to be good candidates for implants as patients without osteoporosis. Even if you’ve already experienced bone loss in your jaw, dental implants may still be an option for you. Once you’re fully able to chew properly again with dental implants, you may also be able to improve your nutrition and reduce future bone loss from the disease.
Increased Life Expectancy
Some people wonder if the cost of dental implants is worth it when they’re older. “I won’t be around much longer anyway” is a common refrain. Life expectancies for mostly healthy people are longer now than in any previous generation. No one knows how much time they have left, but at 60 or 70, you could easily have another 20+ years left.
Think about the hassles of missing teeth or loose dentures. Do you really want to deal with either for another decade or longer? Three meals a day, 365 days a year, for how many years? In a few days of discomfort and a few months of healing, you could be able to chew properly for the rest of your life.
Quality of Life
Any relatively healthy person at any age can be a good candidate for dental implants. Patients as old as 85 or 90 have had the procedure done. Why? Because an improved quality of life matters. Being able to enjoy your life, however much time you have left, is important. Eating foods you love and not harming your remaining teeth gives you a better quality of life. You’ve spent your entire life working hard and making sacrifices for your family or your career goals. At this point, don’t you deserve to enjoy something as basic as eating a meal?
By not getting implants, you may have to change your diet or overcompensate with your remaining teeth to eat properly. Changing your diet to soft foods or leaving out certain food groups isn’t good for your health and can make mealtime miserable. Chewing with your remaining teeth can lead to other dental concerns later. Both impact your quality of life negatively.
Dentures vs. Implants
Dentures may be a less expensive option, but they aren’t a perfect solution. Dental implants cost more but the benefits tend to outweigh the expense.
- Fully taste your meals because implants take up much less space in your mouth.
- Implants are steadier and more stable than dentures. No more slipping or clacking.
- Dental implants are more comfortable and go in with a snap instead of the denture adhesive that can hurt your mouth when you remove them.
- Dentures must be replaced every several years while implants can last the rest of your life as long as you take care of them.
- No more soaking your dentures. With dental implants, you brush your teeth as normal.
Every situation is different, and only your personal dentist can tell you if you’re a good candidate for dental implants. The one thing that won’t disqualify you is your age. Whether you’ve got 10 or 30 years left, they deserve to be good years. Dental implants can improve your quality of life and give you back foods you thought you’d never get to eat again.