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It’s just a fact of many people’s lives: As you get older, you can lose one or more teeth. While it’s possible to lose teeth at any age due to accidents or gum disease, there’s something about aging that seems to make tooth loss more probable. It also makes repairing that tooth loss slightly more complicated in some cases. Here are a few tips from our dental implant dentist in Sarasota for what you need to know about getting implants when you’re older.
Tip #1: Don’t delay asking about an implant if you have lost a tooth.
You can think of dental implants almost like a type of permanent dentures. The implant has two basic parts, a “root” that anchors directly into your jawbone, and a crown that is made to look exactly like the tooth it is replacing. However, once you lose a tooth, the bone that anchored that tooth starts to recede. If don’t get your implants right away, by the time you get started, you might have suffered too much bone loss for the implant to anchor properly.
Tip #2: If you need bone grafts in order to be a candidate for dental implants, be aware of the time frame.
If you have experienced too much bone loss to be able to get tooth implants right away, it may be an option for you to have bone grafts inserted into your jawbone. This can not only benefit you by giving you the gift of fixed, stable teeth, it can also help to protect you from potentially breaking your jaw if you fall. However, you should know that the time frame for bone grafts plus implants can stretch to a year or more. Typically, it takes six months for your bone graft to heal enough to accept the implants. Then it can take another 6 months for the implants to heal enough to support crowns being installed. When you’re making the decision whether or not to get implants, you should weigh the benefits against not only the cost, but also the time it will take.
Tip #3: Tell your dentist if you suffer from uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disorders that impact your ability to heal.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implant surgery. Health conditions that affect your circulation, tissue repair, or wound healing may mean that dental implants are not right for you.
Bonus tip for any age: Make it a top priority to keep your permanent teeth as long as possible.
This goes without saying, but if you can get your original set of teeth to last a lifetime, you’ll be thankful. One of the most important techniques to employ to accomplish this is to keep your gums as healthy as possible. Receding gums put your teeth at risk of having their roots exposed. These roots aren’t coated with quite the same amount of tough enamel that your tooth crowns have, putting you at risk of decay starting in those exposed roots. It’s when that happens that you are most prone to losing one or more teeth. How do you keep your gums healthy? By brushing and visiting your dentist regularly.
See Joshua Colkmire for all your dental needs, from checkups to implants. We are here to serve you. Schedule your appointment today.