My dad has had dentures for as long as I can remember. He has complained, off and on, about his dentures being uncomfortable, but it’s just been a part of life. I admit he’s probably due for some new ones. Suddenly, out of the blue, he told us last weekend that he is planning to get dental implants. He’s looking at getting the ones that are like dentures but are on two posts on the bottom and two posts on the top. He said his dentist recommended it. My friend had one implant placed and that process was very lengthy and unpleasant. I can’t imagine that getting dental implants at age 79 is the best option for my dad. I just don’t want him to go through all the surgery and pain for nothing. Is there an age limit on getting dental implants or is it okay for my dad to proceed?
Barbara, Salt Lake City
Dentures serve their purpose for many people to be able to eat and smile and keep their self-image. For some, though, they can become uncomfortable. When the jawbone isn’t used as a foundation for teeth, the body thinks the minerals aren’t needed and they are reabsorbed. When this happens, the jaw changes. It becomes misshapen and shrinks. When these changes happen, it makes it so the dentures don’t fit the same as they once did. Your father may be experiencing some of these changes and is looking at his options. Yes, he could just get a new set of dentures, but he could also be looking for something that will fit and look better.
All-on-4 Dental Implants
The implants he is considering, called All-on-4 dental implants, are a great way to keep your father’s teeth stable. The two posts on each the top and bottom hold the teeth in place. It is more affordable than getting implants on all his teeth, but still provides a good look. The posts implanted send the message to the jaw that the minerals are needed there and will prevent any more being reabsorbed.
If your father is using a reputable cosmetic dentist, he will have to undergo a pretty thorough examination and questionnaire to make sure he is a good candidate for the implants. This would be the case for any patient, not just someone who is older. Because there is surgery involved and sometimes jaw reconstruction to provide the stability needed there, the doctor will make sure he is a good candidate before beginning any of the processes.
If you have questions, ask if you can attend your father’s next appointment with him so you can feel comfortable before proceeding. It also may not be a bad idea to get a second opinion. That way you have covered all your bases.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Cummiskey at Generations Dental Care in Enfield, CT.