Are Single Tooth Implants Right for Seniors?

If you’ve experienced tooth loss due to gum disease, accidents, or damage to the tooth, you’re not alone. On average, seniors 65 or older have only roughly 20% of their original teeth left. If you're a senior with the majority of your natural teeth left, one or more single tooth implants could be the solution to restore your smile.  

The Maximum Age for Dental Implants

There is no maximum recommended age for dental restoration, including single tooth implants. They work well even for patients in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond. These restoration options are long lasting with proper care, and are tailored to blend in perfectly with your remaining natural teeth. Typically, your overall health and the condition of your gum and jaw tissue determine if implants are a good choice for you, regardless of age.

Single Implants vs Multi-Tooth Implants

If you have a few teeth missing in the same area, you may want to fill in a larger gap. These multi-tooth implants can often attach to a single implant post. You can fill in bigger gaps in your smile with the same placement procedure requirement for a single tooth implant. If you have multiple missing teeth but they're spread out throughout your mouth, individual implants will work best. You can still have the posts implanted all at the same time in most cases to streamline your recovery process.

Preparations for Dental Implants

Many dental patients with missing teeth wait a few years, or even a few decades, before seeking restoration options. Dental implants need a strong attachment to the bone tissue in the jaw. They also need plenty of gum tissue around the post to keep it covered and protected from bacteria. If your dentist finds that you're lacking in gum or bone tissue where you want the implants, you'll need grafts to fill in the spaces. Healing from the grafts has to finish before you can move on to the other steps of placing dental implants.

Health Conditions That Might Interfere with Implants

Seniors with good overall health often qualify for dental implants with few other limitations. Health conditions that could interfere with the successful placement of single tooth implants include:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
  • Unwillingness to quit smoking
  • Uncontrolled infection in other parts of your body

There are many ways to treat the health problems that can complicate dental implant use. Discuss your health with your dentist before assuming you're not a good candidate for this treatment.

Implants vs Dental Bridges for Seniors

Dental bridges are another option your Fairhope, AL dentist can offer you to fill a gap in your smile. However, they come with a number of disadvantages when compared to implants. Implants are more realistic looking, more durable, and longer lasting than dental bridges. Bridges need replacement every 5 to 10 years, while dental implants can last the rest of your life with proper care. Dental implants require a larger upfront investment than bridges. However, consider that you won't have to spend any money on replacing it later like you would with a bridge. Dental bridges also cause damage to the natural teeth surrounding them because they must rely on those teeth for support. Taking care of your remaining natural teeth is easier with the help of single tooth implants.

Choosing Single Tooth Implants Over Dentures

When you only have a few natural teeth left, it's time to consider dentures instead of individual tooth replacements. Dentures create a seamless appearance when the teeth you have left are damaged or discolored as well. You can choose implant-supported dentures to enjoy the security and permanent placement of implants while replacing all of your teeth at once. Your dentist can help you decide between committing to full dentures or choosing a single tooth implant for each missing tooth.

Dental Implants Cost

Dental implants tend to cost more than other forms of restoration for missing teeth, but they are also longer lasting, and in many cases, near permanent. Partial dentures, bridges, and crowns all require regular replacement, meaning repeated costs. At Lagniappe Dental, we understand how important it is that you have access to the healthcare you need, which is why we’ve created our Dental Savings Plans for those without dental insurance.

Schedule a Consultation

Ready to achieve a functional, beautiful smile with dental implants? Schedule a consultation with us today to discuss your options for restoring your smile no matter your age.  


Call 251-517-3313 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.