dental implants

Dental Implants: Are There Age Restrictions?

When you’re missing a tooth, dental implants are one of the best tooth restoration options. They look and feel the most like a natural tooth. Whether your tooth loss is due to tooth decay or a sports injury, you don’t want to walk around without your complete smile no matter your age!

dental implants

But are there restrictions on age when it comes to dental implants?

Why Are Implants Needed?

Dental implants are ideal replacement teeth. A titanium screw with a post (also called an abutment) is drilled into the jawbone and a crown is then anchored on top. The crown is specifically formed to mimic the size and shape of the missing tooth. It functions just like the tooth you lost — maybe even better, since implants can’t decay!

This type of tooth restoration encourages jawbone health and prevents bone erosion. It doesn’t depend on surrounding teeth for support. But another byproduct of the fact that it is screwed into the jawbone is that it’s not the best choice for younger people.

It’s Less About Age, More About Development

Implants aren’t stable when placed in a jawbone that is still developing. They can be successful in teens aged 17 or 18, but it’s important that the vast majority of growth has already taken place beforehand. This is the only way implants are a viable option.

If a patient is on the cusp of implant eligibility, there are ways to see if the jawbone is close to fully grown. It’s possible to take X-rays, both of the mouth and other parts of the body, such as the wrist bone, to gauge development.

Given the fact that dental implants can last for decades, it’s always worthwhile to talk to your oral surgeon and determine if they are an option for a younger patient. You will get the most value for your money the earlier in life you get an implant.

No Upper Age Limits

For older adults, there is good news: You are never too old for dental implants. As long as your oral surgeon determines you are healthy enough to be sedated for the procedure, your age typically will not have any bearing on whether you can get dental implants.

When You Have to Wait

If dental implants aren’t an option for you now, be sure to talk with our team and your dentist about other effective tooth restorations. But if you’d like to learn more about the implant procedure, just schedule an appointment with us. At Richmond Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we’re happy to answer your questions and explain the process in-depth.