My mom and I are in a bit of a disagreement. She’s in her upper 70s and wants to get all-on-4 dental implants. I’m worried she’s too old and being taken advantage of. She’s been complaining about her dentures for a while. I know she’s had them a long time and may just want an upgrade, but we’re talking about surgery. At her age, I think that’s dangerous. Normally, I take her to her doctor appointments, but she snuck away with a friend for this one and said the dentist told her she’s the perfect candidate. How do I know if this is true or if he’s trying to milk her for her money?
It’s obvious you care about your mother a great deal and you want to protect her. I’m going to look at this from a couple of angles.
First, let’s talk about her dentures. They’ve been bothering her for a while and you mentioned she’s had them a long time. This likely means she’s lost a lot of her jawbone structure due to facial collapse. This is a result of having dentures for as long as she has. It’s probably difficult for her to keep them from slipping. Eventually, it will become impossible having a severe impact on her ability to eat.
Dental implants prevent facial collapse; however, it does require enough bone structure to securely retain them. When a patient has lost a lot of bone, they can either have bone grafting done and then get implants, or (if they’re a candidate) they can have all-on-4 dental implants which doesn’t require as much bone.
Age and Dental Implants
The oldest patient on record to have dental implants was 100 years old. Filomena Battista had dental implants done in 2012, in fact, it put her in the Guinness Book of World Records. They were still in great condition at her passing in 2015. The age of a patient doesn’t matter. What does matter is the health of the patient.
If your mother is in good general health, then she is likely a good candidate for dental implants.
Finding a Good Implant Dentist
The more important question is who should place them. You’ll want a dentist who can do both the surgery and the restoration crown. This way there is less chance of miscommunication. Second, you want a dentist with extensive post-graduate training in dental implants. Look for someone who’s studied at the Kois Center, the Spear Institute, the Dawson Academy, or other reputable institution which teach dental implants to dentists.
Don’t hesitate to ask where they received their implant training. Also, ask how long they’ve been placing them and what their success rate is. It should be somewhere around 98%.
If all this seems in order, your mother will likely do very well. You’ll even see her quality of life improve significantly by having secure “teeth” for the first time in many years.
This blog is brought to you by Atlanta Implant Dentist Dr. David Pumphrey.