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Can I Get Dental Implants After Twelve Years?

Posted by writeradmin

Question submitted by: Emily

I have had dentures for twelve years. I wanted to get implant overdentures when I first had my teeth removed but did not have enough money. Now, I can afford them and I am worried it is too late. Is it still possible for me to get the dental implants? My jaw looks much worse than it did when all this first started.


Dear Emily,

an illustration of a full arch fixed bridge and the implants that secure it in place

As long as your gums themselves are healthy, then it is never too late to have dental implants placed. There is a big BUT here, though. You already noticed the issue when you mentioned your jaw looking worse. When your teeth were first removed, your body immediately recognized there are not teeth roots. As it no longer has something to support, your body will start to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere in your body. It’s a remarkably efficient design. The only issue is the aesthetics. As the minerals are resorbed, your jawbone slowly shrinks. This means after ten to twenty years you no longer have enough jawbone in your body to support the dentures. This is known as facial collapse. As you’ve likely noticed, it also ages your appearance.

There is a procedure that can rectify this issue known as bone grafting. What you need is a dentist who can handle more complex cases, such as yours. The ideal dentist would be someone with specialized training, such as a prosthodontist, who can do the whole case from beginning to end including the bone grafting and implant surgery, as well as the restoration.

This prevents any miscommunications between an oral surgeon and a dentist. Here he or she will do the bone grafting. When there has been adequate time for healing, then he can place the dental implants. After the bone has had time to integrate with the implants, your dentist can fix the dental bridge to it as you see pictured above.

I would also take one other precaution and ensure that the dentist can create a beautiful as well as functional smile. To do that you only have to look at their smile gallery to see if they have an artistic touch to their work. If they don’t have a smile gallery, then they likely do not provide beautiful cosmetic work and I’d look for someone else.

This blog is brought to you by Tucson Dentist Dr. Steinberg.