Recently, a 92-year-old woman came in to see Dr. Fava for what she admitted was a long-overdue consultation. Her teeth, as a result of poor dental care during and following WWII, had been failing for many decades. At this point, she had a full upper denture and a partial bridge on the bottom dangling from four failing teeth. She was hoping for a hybrid denture/implant solution, a removable bottom bridge that would be fixed to two dental implants.
A 3D tomographic cat scan showed that the woman’s lower jaw, after so many years of missing teeth, would require bone grafting, a safe, painless procedure we perform regularly here at the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics. But the additional time and office visits required for this fragile, older patient were simply more than she felt she could handle. She, very reluctantly, decided to go back to her regular dentist for a simple bottom denture.
Don’t Delay if You’re Considering Dental Implants
The visit serves as a reminder to anyone considering dental implants that, although we absolutely can provide them at any age, the longer one waits, the more that additional augmentative reinforcement procedures might be necessary. And, although safe and common, these extra steps may be logistically or emotionally challenging for some older patients. Here are four more reasons why you shouldn’t delay if you’re considering dental implants:
Our jawbones are strengthened by the physical stimulus of chewing and biting.The longer one is missing teeth, the great the chance that jawbone resorption takes place where the bone, which is needed to support an implant, “resorbs” back into the body. Even if you’re only missing one or two teeth, bone loss could make dental implants harder to place.
Often, long-term bone deterioration can cause the cheeks to sag which makes you look older. This can be made worse by wearing a removable appliance which increases resorption in the area it sits on. Dentures can’t help preserve facial structure, but dental implants will preserve the jawbone.
3-Improved Self Esteem
Individuals with regular dentures experience slippage, have to deal with gunk in their mouths all day, can’t chew properly and often have to relearn how to speak properly with the denture in place. All our dental implants patients say they feel like their “old selves” again since they achieve beautiful smiles and can eat and speak with confidence.
When you’re missing teeth, your remaining teeth can shift to partially fill the gap, causing not only potentially uneven teeth, but teeth that are harder to clean and repair. In more serious cases, you may need to use braces or Invisalign® to move teeth to correct the bite and make room for an implant and its crown.
Don’t delay! If you’re curious about dental implants, call our office at 215-677-8686 to see how we can give you the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve.