Dental Implants Can Help People of Any Age
Austin oral and maxillofacial surgeons place dental implants in patients in their 70's, 80's, and 90's with great results. Working with restorative dentists, the oral surgeons improve the chewing function and the quality of life for older patients.
"Patients who are in their 70's, 80's, and beyond often ask me if they can benefit from dental implants," Dr. Leland said. "My answer is yes, as long as your medical history is reviewed and there are no medical issues or medications that would suggest to us that implants not be used."
Dental implants have proven to be safe and predictable through over 40 years of scientific study and clinical experience. Patients of all ages can benefit. According to Dr. Kern, "The success rate with dental implants is around 97%. The age range of our dental implant patients ranges from the late teen years (once a patient has reached skeletal maturity) up to the 80's and beyond. I have placed implants in patients in their 90's. These patients were subsequently able to enjoy a full variety of firm foods they could not eat prior to implant placement and have a higher quality of life."
One of the greatest benefits of dental implants is that they look and function like natural teeth. Dr. Leland commented, "I have a number of older patients, and after a follow-up of over five years, it is amazing how well they are doing. They don't have to limit their diet choices to soft foods. They can go to a restaurant and they can order whatever they prefer because they have a very strong bite."
Dr. Kern noted that one of the keys to successful implant placement is proper diagnosis and treatment planning. "If you think about it, you're going to place hundreds of pounds of pressure per square inch when you chew on that implant, so it makes sense that you need a good underlying bone and soft tissue environment to support that implant. This is an important consideration for all patients, especially those who due to losing teeth or advanced age have lost bone and soft tissue volume in their jaws. To rebuild the missing tissue, your surgeon may recommend bone or soft tissue grafting prior to having the implant placed. Rebuilding these tissues when they are deficient is essential to long term implant success. During your evaluation your surgeon will review with you the implant process, grafting procedures (if necessary), and timeline for treatment."
Many patients ask questions about potential discomfort associated with implant placement and grafting procedures. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have the training to provide the most comfortable treatment experience. Depending on the patient's needs and medical history, multiple levels of sedation, including being completely asleep for the procedure, can be safely performed.
Dr. Leland commented on the extensive training oral surgeons receive in many aspects of care, including anesthesia: "Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique in that they are the surgical specialty that outside of anesthesiologists obtain the most extensive training in anesthesia. In our training programs all oral and maxillofacial surgeons spend 4-6 years mastering all areas of our specialty, with a heavy focus on outpatient, office-based anesthesia. We also train side by side in hospital settings with anesthesiologists."
Dr. Leland further explained how this training benefits patients. "Every person who walks in this door is an individual, and we look at that person as an individual. While some patients are very healthy, others have extensive medical issues and require a more in depth work up. Our background in medicine and anesthesia allows us to appropriately manage our patients and deliver a level of anesthesia that is appropriate and safe for the patient."
The doctors emphasized that while they are responsible for the surgical aspects of dental implant treatment, they work closely with restorative dentists. "Dental implant treatment is a collaborative effort between the restorative dentist and the surgeon," Dr. Kern said. "Regardless of whether we are replacing a single tooth or all the teeth in the mouth, we communicate frequently with your dentist and keep your final desired outcome, bite, and esthetics in mind. My job as a surgeon is to reconstruct jaw bone and soft tissue that has been lost and place the implant in the best possible position for your restorative dentist to provide you with a wonderful restoration that allows you to chew well and also looks great."
Dental implants have excellent longevity, but just like teeth they require appropriate home care and visits to your dentist. Dr. Kern summed it up this way: "If patients maintain bone and gum tissue levels, practice good homecare, and go to their dentist for routine checkups and hygiene visits, then the longevity of the implant is far longer than any other restoration currently available. There are many patients who keep their dental implants for life."
Austin Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery has been serving Austin and surrounding communities for over 40 years. Each of our surgeons is board certified by The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. For your convenience we have ten locations in central Texas. New patients are welcome. Although the practice receives referrals from many outstanding physicians and dentists, patients are not required to have a doctor referral to make an appointment. Additional information regarding implant therapy or other oral surgical procedures performed in our office is available on the practice website, www.austinoralsurgery.com.
Page Updated Last on: Jul 12, 2016