dental implants for seniors with bone loss
Published On: March 27th, 2024Categories: Dental Implants6 min readViews: 661

Dental Implants for Seniors with Bone Loss [Best Options]

If you have lost your teeth to gum disease and bone loss, wearing traditional dentures may be a step that you are not prepared to accept. After all, dentures are not like having your own teeth, especially if you have minimal bone to properly support them. Many people in this predicament wonder if dental implant surgery for seniors with bone loss is even a possibility.

In some cases, they are. Dental implants can change your entire outlook, giving you the ability to enjoy difficult-to-chew foods without worrying if your dentures will stay in place.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a replacement for the root of a missing tooth. It is a titanium screw-shaped post that is inserted into and supported by the jawbone that allows either removable replacement teeth or fixed crowns and bridges to be anchored to it.

Dental implants are a great solution for people who have lost either some or all of their natural teeth. But what happens if you don’t have a sufficient quantity of jaw bone for dental implants? Is it still possible to have implants placed to help secure a denture?

Bone Loss and Dental Implants: The Challenge

The mechanical process of placing dental implants is analogous to carpentry. Picture yourself placing a screw into a piece of wood molding to support a heavy piece of artwork. What happens if the wood is too thin or doesn’t allow for a long enough screw? The wood will eventually split, and the picture will come crashing down.

A similar thing happens when there is insufficient bone to support a dental implant in all dimensions. The implant will fail. It is up to the implant surgeon to evaluate available bone height, width, and length in order to determine if there is sufficient bone to support dental implants in the desired locations. Placing dental implants for seniors with bone loss is possible. Depending upon the severity of bone loss, treatment may require separate bone grafts in advance of implant placement in order to create enough bone to properly support dental implants and overall oral health.

Your dental professional will talk with you about your medical history and determine if you are a good candidate for implants and bone grafting. Typically, artificial bone is placed in selected areas via a minor surgical procedure. This bone stimulates the patient’s ability to grow new bone, with the graft material acting as scaffolding.

After the bone graft has healed for about six months, implants are placed into the newly-formed bone and allowed to heal and integrate before an implant denture is attached to the implants for stability. Implant dentistry will replace missing teeth eventually, as the entire treatment typically takes about one year from start to finish. It is well worth the investment of time in order to have a denture that functions much more like natural teeth.

Dental Implant Options

Dental implants can be used in a range of different applications. When it comes to stabilizing dentures and placing dental implants for seniors with bone loss, certain treatments are less demanding and require less bone than others.

Let’s investigate the different possibilities and what might be involved in getting denture implants with bone loss.

Implant Overdentures

Implant overdentures refer to dentures that receive most of their support from the underlying gum tissue, similar to traditional dentures. The difference is that dental implants eliminate the need for denture adhesives, since they prevent the denture from sliding or moving during function, which helps the denture stay in place

Overdentures can be particularly beneficial for patients who currently wear complete lower dentures. Usually, two dental implants are placed where the natural canine teeth are removed. In many cases, patients have more abundant bone quantity in these areas. Sometimes, this allows dental implants for seniors with bone loss to be placed without the need for bone grafting.

While not the same as a denture that is completely supported by implants, the procedure is certainly a step up from traditional dentures that float and make it easier to eat more nutritious foods without worrying about the denture coming loose while eating.

All-on-4 Snap-On Denture

All-on-4 snap-on dentures take the implant overdenture concept a step further by placing two or more additional implants toward the back part of the mouth for additional security. It’s a great option for replacing lost teeth. Since the removable denture is completely attached to all of the dental implants, the denture no longer relies on the gum tissue for support, which makes the prosthesis feel and function much more like natural teeth. The denture is removed by the patient for daily cleaning and maintenance.

Because a greater number of implants are required, all-on-4 snap-on dentures require sufficient bone quantity and quality throughout a larger portion of the dental arch in order to support the denture completely. Often, implants designed to support the back section of the denture are placed deeply into the jawbone at a steep backward angle to increase denture stability while simultaneously taking advantage of greater bone surface area for the implants.

Still, the patient must have an abundance of bone to support all of the implants and may require a grafting procedure to be performed in preparation for all-on-4 denture treatment.

All-on 4 Locator Fixed Denture

A procedure beyond all-on-4 snap-on dentures is non-removable hybrid dentures that are not able to be removed by the patient, providing the patient even more security and confidence with dentures that mimic the comfort of natural teeth. Instead of caring for the dentures out of the mouth, you brush them much like natural teeth.

Most all-on-4 implant patients say that the procedure was life-changing, and they wish they had done it sooner.

Achieve Natural Teeth with Dental Implant Surgery

No matter which type of denture implants you plan to go for, the best candidates for dental implants and bone grafting procedures possess certain factors, including:

  • a clean bill of health,
  • sufficient bone structure to support the implants,
  • the ability to grow additional bone,
  • and the absence of on-going dental disease such as gum disease.

Patients with chronic health issues such as autoimmune diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled circulatory system problems, or patients who have undergone certain types of cancer therapies are not appropriate candidates for dental implants or the all-on-4 procedure.

Because bone grafting and implant placement are invasive procedures that depend on the body’s immune response to successfully recover and heal correctly, your implant surgeon will carefully evaluate your health with this in mind. The last thing you want is for the surgeon to take on your case if it has a poor chance of success.

Are dental implants safe? They are when you meet the qualifications and are working with a quality surgeon.

Benefits of Working With an Experienced Dental Professional

Surgically implanted dental implants are designed to enhance the rest of your life. An experienced implant provider understands both the mechanical and health demands necessary for a successful long-term treatment outcome. Even if you suffer from bone loss, the clinicians at European Denture Center will assist and direct you in making the best decisions to address your specific situation.

Before you rule out denture implants, make your appointment to consult with our knowledgeable dental professionals today!