Minimum Age or Age Restriction for Dental Implants
There are several reasons why dental implants are becoming the treatment of choice for patients missing one or more teeth. The titanium dental implants replace the missing tooth roots and the tooth itself. Because they are permanently attached to the jawbone, dental implants are more secure than dentures and will not shift out of place. Other benefit of dental implants include:
- Restore the patient’s speaking and chewing ability
- Look and function like natural teeth
- Do not have to be removed to clean them
- Avoid sticky adhesives that dentures commonly require
- Prevents facial sagging common with dentures
- No risk of embarrassing mishaps such as the teeth falling out when eating, talking, or sneezing
- Are more effective and longer lasting than dentures or bridges
Despite their benefits, dental implants are not suitable for everyone including patients under 18 years of age.
Minimum Age Requirements for Dental Implants
One requirement for dental implants is that the patient’s jaw be fully developed in order to support the system. Often, this occurs in late teenage or early adult years and if dental implants are placed before the jaw fully matures, the restoration can inhibit the bone from further developing. Additional complications that could arise from placing dental implants prematurely include:
- Bite issues
- Spaces developing between the teeth
- Bone loss proximal to the prosthesis
- Aesthetic changes to facial symmetry
Everyone grows differently but the jaw typically continues growing until 18-20 years of age. In some instances, the patient will be in their mid-20s before their skeletal maturity is complete. While not an absolute, this generally means that patients under the age of 18 are not candidates for dental implants unless their jaw is fully developed. As an interim solution for patients still growing, the dentist could create a dental bridge or removable denture to restore appearance and functionality.
Dentists will take X-rays of the patient’s bones when determining if a teenager is ready for dental implants. If the bones are sufficiently developed, they can proceed with surgery. Should the patient be under 18, parental consent will be obtained to replace the missing teeth with dental implants. It should be noted that placing dental implants in young adults can be highly beneficial. Not only are the bones healthy and strong but the risk of developing peri-implantitis, the largest cause of implant failure, is reduced.
Do Dental Implants Have Upper Age Limits?
Based on figures from the American Dental Association, half of the population over age 65 are missing at least one tooth making them ideal dental implant candidates. Overall health, rather than simply age, is the primary consideration when evaluating a patient’s candidacy for dental implants and as such, healthy people in their 80s and 90s can receive the treatment. In fact, patients that have lived for years with removable dentures, may find switching to a permanent, non-removable implant is preferable. With advances in medical treatments and people living longer than ever, having long-term solutions to replace their teeth allows patients to live their lives without limitations or restrictions.