As any dentist will tell you, age isn't a factor in dental implant success; you can get an implant even at an advanced age. However, some health issues that are common in old age may complicate the treatment or healing process. Here are a few examples of those factors, and how to deal with them:
Alzheimer's disease is a mental problem that affects a person's thinking, memory, and behavior. The condition has been known to strike those in their 40s or 50s, but it is more common with those over the age of 65.
The issue of memory loss is particularly important for older patients who need dental implants. This is because it is easy for a person who has Alzheimer to forget to brush or floss their teeth, and a high-level of dental hygiene is one of the prerequisites for successful dental implant healing. Therefore, if an Alzheimer's patient is to receive a dental implant, they need to have a helper or assistant ready to help them with their dental hygiene.
Arthritis is a group of infections characterized by joint inflammation. Arthritis can strike at any age, but the risk of developing the joint disease increases with age. This is particularly true with osteoarthritis, a degenerative form of arthritis that strikes due to the wear and tear of the joint cartilage.
There are two main ways in which arthritis can affect dental implant success. First, advanced arthritis may make it difficult for a dental implant patient to handle their daily oral hygiene routine. Secondly, some arthritis medications interfere with dental implant treatment, for example, by encouraging bleeding. Luckily, both of these problems can be dealt with. For example, a helper can assist with dental hygiene routine like in the case of Alzheimer's patients. For the medication problem, the dentist and the doctor handling arthritis can coordinate to reduce the risk of medication-related problems.
The third possible complication is osteoporosis, a medical condition characterized by weak and brittle bones. Osteoporosis arises when the body doesn't replace lost bone tissues. The risk of osteoporosis increases with age, affecting one in two women over the age of 50 and one in four men over the age of fifty. What's more, some medications meant for managing the disease may also kill some of the bone tissues by restricting their blood supply.
A person suffering from osteoporosis can still enjoy the benefits of dental implants provided the dentist is well informed about the condition. For example, dentists have had success by inserting the implant immediately the tooth being replaced is removed. Bone augmentation may also help if the jawbone has deteriorated too much.