Is there an age factor for implants?
Dental Implants are small, titanium, screw-shaped threaded cylinders that are placed into the bone in the upper (Maxillary) and/or lower (Mandibular) arches of the mouth. They are used to replace one or many missing teeth, or to stabilize dentures. Titanium is an inert metal that is capable of creating a very tight bond with bone. Titanium is used in other operations such as knee or hip replacements — so it is a proven surgical component.
The implant acts like the root of a natural tooth, and bone actually forms around a special coating on the implant to hold the implant firmly in place. This process is referred to as osseointegration. A crown, with the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth is then affixed to an abutment which is connected to the implant. The ‘abutment’ is simply a small connecting piece between the implant and the crown.
In cases where there are multiple missing teeth, or where the patient has previously had dentures, multiple implants are placed in the mouth to allow for implant-supported crowns or bridges, ball abutment retained overdentures, and/or bar-supported overdentures.
The success rate for dental implants is very high; and, with proper care, good dental hygiene, and a healthy life style, it is rare that implants will fail. Today, Dental Implants are the most successful surgical procedure of all routine surgical procedures performed. Over the past 30 years, hundreds of thousands of implants have been placed. Many of the ‘original’ implants are still functioning without problems. Technology and procedures have advanced significantly since the first implants were placed. Some failed implants can be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle (smoking), or to poor dental hygiene. “Dental Implants have been shown in some cases to have a greater than 98% success rate.” (Dental Economics, AAID Implant Insight Newsletter).
The health of the patient is a far more important factor than the patient’s age. Dental Implants have been placed in patients in their teens. Implants have also been placed in patients in their 80s, allowing them a new lease on life. As a result they have achieved better nutritional standards, and appear physically younger. New techniques and advancements in implant dentistry allow the practitioner to augment bone structure in cases where bone was insufficient for placing implants. So, even though you have lost teeth many years ago, or have worn conventional dentures for many years, and have subsequently lost some bone mass, this can be reversed through bone augmentation.
It has been demonstrated through long-term studies that endosseous implants regularly last for periods up to 25 years and more. The effectiveness and durability of dental implants is often determined by the patient’s lifestyle. For example, those who smoke, have poor oral hygiene, or grind their teeth, will likely have a lower success rate and shorter implant-life.
During the procedure, the treatment area is anaesthetized in virtually the same way as for other dental, or cosmetic dentistry procedure. Patients will normally experience only mild discomfort after the procedure. This can be controlled by over-the-counter or prescription medication, and antibiotics. In almost all cases, the patient will return to work, or their regular routine, the next day. A regimen of daily mouth care will be prescribed by the dentist, together with suggestions for nutritional supplements, and diet.
It is advisable to choose a practitioner who has the knowledge and training necessary to perform dental implant treatment. The Leigh Smile Center encourages you to ask questions regarding qualifications, training, success rates, and the length of time the practitioner has been performing implant related treatments. You are also encouraged to compare the costs involved as well as the level of after-care that the practitioner provides, and the availability of that practitioner should complications arise. It is for your own benefit to be an informed consumer; especially where it involves your health or your quality of life.
“There is now overwhelming evidence that a 2-implant overdenture should become the first choice of treatment for the edentulous mandible.” “Patients have a significantly higher quality of life and improved nutritional state with stabilized dentures.” – from a McGill University article in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association Sept. 2002, Vol. 68, No. 8. Pg. 469.