Our bodies keep changing as we age, including our teeth and gums. Tooth loss is a common problem among older adults and can occur for various reasons, such as gum disease, tooth decay, injury, or wear and tear.
For many pensioners, tooth loss creates significant problems such as difficulty chewing, speech impairment, and embarrassment over their appearance. Fortunately, dental implants can offer a long-term solution for lost teeth and restore your smile’s natural look, function, and confidence.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what tooth implants are and how pensioners can access dental implants.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant placement involves a small titanium post surgically inserted into your jawbone, integrating with the surrounding bone tissue and acting as an artificial tooth root. Once the dentist fuses the implant with your bone, a custom dental crown or bridge can be attached to replace the missing teeth. Dental implants are available in various sizes, shapes, and materials to suit your needs.
Depending on the extent of tooth loss, implants can replace one tooth, multiple teeth or even your entire arch. In the case of tooth extractions, you will need to wait at least ten weeks before you receive the dental implants, and you need adequate jaw bone density and healthy gums.
Preparing Dentists for Dental Implant Treatment
The dental school curriculum is comprehensive and includes training in dental implant procedures. Dental students learn the theoretical aspects of implantology, understanding the indications, techniques, and potential complications.
Furthermore, they often gain practical experience by observing and assisting in implant procedures in teaching hospitals. This mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience offered at dental schools equips future dentists to provide effective dental implant treatment for their patients.
How to Determine if you can Receive Dental Implants
Almost everyone with a missing tooth can benefit from dental implants, provided they have healthy gums, sufficient jawbone structure, and good overall dental health. However, age is not a determining factor – many pensioners successfully undergo dental implant treatment.
An experienced dentist can perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine if you’re a good candidate for replacement teeth and recommend any necessary preparations, such as bone grafting or gum disease treatment.
A medical condition, like uncontrolled diabetes or immune disorders, may affect your ability to heal and, therefore, require special considerations.
Why are Dental Implants an Excellent Option for Pensioners?
Dental implants allow pensioners to improve their oral health and overall quality of life. Dental implants are stable and fixed in place, unlike dentures, which can move while eating or talking.
This allows pensioners to eat, speak, and confidently smile without worrying about embarrassing slips or self-consciousness. Also, dental implants can help prevent bone loss and gum recession, often when one or more teeth are missing for prolonged periods.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Here’s what you can expect during a dental implant procedure so that you can make an informed decision.
1.Consultation and examination
You start off by setting an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon. During this initial consultation, they will examine your mouth and jaw and take X-rays and other images to assess the health of your teeth, gums, and bones.
They will also discuss your medical history, any medications you are taking, and your expectations for the procedure. When your dentist gives you the go-ahead, they will create a treatment plan and schedule the surgery.
Before the implants are installed, the dentist will administer local anaesthesia to numb the area. Depending on your anxiety level, you may also be given sedation to help you relax. This may be administered orally or intravenously. Most dentists or oral surgeons will explain your sedation options during the consultation.
3. Implant placement
The implant placement procedure involves drilling a small hole in the jawbone where the implant will be placed. The artificial tooth root, a small metal screw, is then implanted into the jawbone. Once the implant is securely in place, a healing cap is placed over it.
4. Healing process
The healing process is a critical step in ensuring the success of the implant procedure. The implant must fuse with the jawbone in a process called osseointegration. This can take quite a few months, depending on the individual. The dentist may ask you to eat a soft diet and avoid putting pressure on the implant site.
The restoration process can begin after the implant has fused with the jawbone. This involves creating and attaching a custom-made dental crown to the implant. The technician will custom design the crown to match your natural teeth to blend in seamlessly.
Free Dental Implants for Pensioners? All About Payment Plans
Dental implants cost varies depending on several factors, such as the number of teeth requiring replacement and the procedure’s complexity. However, most private health insurance plans offer the “major dental cover policy”, making dental implants for seniors more affordable.
Additionally, many dental clinics offer pensioners dental implant payment plans. Also, you can leverage dental schemes such as your pension concession card.
Moreover, public dental services may provide free dental care for seniors, whereas some local dentists may offer low-cost dental implants or flexible payment options. Other than that, many dental charitable organisations provide financial assistance.
Are There Any Complications Associated with Dental Implants?
Dental implants for pensioners require a lot of consideration; it is important to understand the potential drawbacks before deciding.
Every surgical procedure carries an infection, and dental implants are no different. This can occur during the implant placement or the healing process. Symptoms of infection include swelling, redness, and pus or discharge around the implant site. These can be treated with antibiotics, but in some cases, the dental implant may need to be removed to prevent further complications.
Nerve damage due to dental implant surgery is rare but possible. If the dentist places the implant too close to a nerve, it can result in numbness, tingling, or pain in the face, jaw, or tongue. In some cases, you may receive permanent nerve damage that can affect speech or the ability to eat. Moreover, any dental trauma will require treatment.
Although the success rate of dental implantation is high, implant failure is still possible. This can happen if the implant does not fuse properly with the jawbone or if insufficient bone supports the implant. Implant failure can cause pain, swelling, and even bone loss. Sometimes, the implant may need to be removed and replaced.
Although rare, many patients end up allergic to the materials used in the implant. This can cause swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing. If you have had allergic reactions to metal or other implant materials previously, you should discuss this with your dentist before getting a dental implant.
Dental implants can be expensive, and only some health insurance providers will cover the cost. This can cause quite a financial burden for pensioners on a fixed income. Discussing dental implants cost and payment options or seeing if your private health fund can cover the cost is important.
The Benefits of Dental Implants for Pensioners
Dental implants have numerous advantages, and they are particularly beneficial for pensioners. These include:
- Improved oral health: Dental implants improve oral health as they prevent bone loss, gum disease, and cavities, ensuring your mouth functions optimally.
- Increased durability: Dental implant surgery is a long-term solution that can last several decades if you maintain good oral hygiene.
- Better speech and chewing: Traditional dentures and missing teeth can hinder speech clarity and cause discomfort while eating or speaking. Dental implants provide natural teeth-like functionality, making it easy to talk, eat, and laugh confidently.
- Enhanced aesthetics: Dental implants restore your smile, improving your self-confidence and overall well-being.
Post-Implant Care for Pensioners
Dental implants are a popular dental procedure for pensioners. These implants are designed to replace missing teeth, which can help restore your smile, preventing oral health problems. However, after you get your dental implants, knowing how to maintain them properly is important to ensure their longevity and prevent infections.
1.Follow proper oral hygiene practices
You must follow proper oral hygiene practices after getting dental implants. This means brushing daily, flossing, and rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. This ensures your teeth and gums remain healthy and infection-free.
2. Avoid hard and sticky foods
After getting dental implants, avoiding eating hard or sticky foods is important, as they can damage the implant and surrounding tissue. This includes crunchy snacks like popcorn, hard candies, and sticky foods like chewing gum. Instead, choose soft foods like soups, mashed potatoes, and smoothies.
3. Attend regular dental checkups
It’s important to attend regular dental checkups after getting dental implants. The dentist can then assess the health of your implants and surrounding tissue and catch any issues before they become serious. This is especially important for pensioners, who may be more prone to dental problems.
4. Be patient
Finally, it’s important to be patient after getting dental implants. The healing process can take months, and following your dentist’s instructions is important. This includes avoiding certain foods, taking pain medication as prescribed, and getting enough rest. While the implants may take some time to heal fully, the result will be breathtaking.
Implants are an exciting and viable dental treatment for pensioners who want to restore their smile and quality of life. While dental implantation may initially seem intimidating, you must remember that dental implant surgery is a common, safe, and effective procedure that has transformed many patients’ lives. It also allows you to preserve dental health.
If you’re interested in dental implants, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist and explore your artificial teeth options. Carefully planning and caring for dental implants can help you enjoy a healthy, beautiful, natural-looking smile for many years.
Are you searching online for a highly reviewed dental clinic in Epping, VIC? Then look no further than the Lyndarum Family Dentist! We provide dental implants for seniors and other dental treatment types, such as crowns, veneers and partial dentures. Call (03) 9626 9581 to book an appointment today!