When to get Dental Implants?
Question of the day
Patient asked about when to get dentures. Only if we really need to pull your teeth is the answer. The value of keeping natural dentition is much greater than people might realize. When we have no choice but to pull teeth I explain the extraction of teeth process, loss function and adaptation phases. What can you expect from a dental prosthetic. You will be handicapped in regards of what you can do with tooth replacement. This is why we, as dental professionals try hard to keep teeth.
Human body is remarkable, even though we typically go from 100% function right down to 10% with a complete lower denture, after a bit of time we get use to it. It's not easy but things get better. After 3 weeks of extractions things are getting better but the mouth structures are worse off. The remaining bone structure is fading away (this happens to everyone) and the denture has less and less of support and stability. This creates movement and pain on the gums. Some people adapt to it, some don't. Some people use glue or just dont wear the denture. Some people get dental implants.
This leads me to my next question, when to get dental implants. For me and my patients the answer is ASAP. There are two major factors. One is the bone structure that you loose. This is a big one because you can not get it back! Without a denture to support you, you will have a caved in face. Not great right! The second factor is function. Yet as I described before people can manage some what but at the very best get 20-25% function in compared to natural teeth. So the question comes back to you, how long do you want to suffer and how much of your facial features do you want to loose.
I have a great story for you. A couple of years back I get the pleasure of meeting a old yet in good health 98 year old man. He came to me and said “I want posts so that I can eat”. I clarified with him that he wants to get better function with his denture by getting support and hold from dental implants. It took me a while to figure out why on earth would you want to get implants at 98 years of age? It came to me as I was helping this man. It's simple, one of the great pleasures in life was gone and he had this frustration for years of not being able to eat easily. If I could solve that problem with a couple of dental implants, it would have great value to him.
Not long after I was done with this wonderful man he was so grateful and I had many older people in there 90s come to me for the same solution.
If there is one lesson to be learned, it is to not wait till you are in your 90 to get dental implants.