Caring for an Elderly Parent With Special Dental Needs

Caring for an Elderly Parent With Special Dental Needs

Understanding the Steps Involved When Getting Dental Implants

Joe Lawrence

When a person wants to replace their missing teeth with dental implants, it's helpful to learn about the process and what to expect. Implant rods often can be placed immediately after teeth are removed, although many dental patients get implants after years of wearing a bridge or dentures. Later, all of these patients have artificial teeth that look and function just like natural ones.

Number of Implants Needed

Most patients just need a limited number of implants. They may have had a few teeth extracted due to decay or other problems. Sometimes, however, a patient has gradually lost so many that a full set makes sense. Being able to stop wearing partial dentures is a relief. Also, most of the remaining teeth might have a certain level of disease requiring extensive dental work to save.

Jawbone Strength and Density

The dentist can place rods right after extraction if the jawbone is strong and dense enough. Some individuals experience reduced bone density and strength due to factors like osteoporosis, teeth missing for many years, and a long-time smoking habit. These patients need bone grafting before they are good candidates.

Rod and Crown Installation

Traditionally, only the bottom rod was installed during the first appointment. The device was left to fully adhere to the bone before the dentist added the top rod and a cosmetic crown. Now, the entire procedure sometimes is done all at once, but it's crucial that the person not chew with the implant until fusion is complete. Putting pressure on the rod might move it, disrupting the progress of integrating with the bone. Always remembering not to chew there is difficult.

Putting force on the device at this point in the process could push it down. The crown no longer sits at its proper position on the gum line but below it. That can make the tooth look unnatural. Since dental implants have an important cosmetic purpose, this is an essential consideration. For these reasons, many dentists still prefer to add the crown and upper rod later. In the meantime, the patient can wear a bridge or dentures for cosmetic purposes. However, a soft food diet must be followed for about two weeks while the gum tissue heals.

Patients will take care of their implants as they care for natural teeth—with regular brushing and flossing. Crowns sometimes eventually need to be replaced, but the rods should last for the rest of the person's life. 


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Caring for an Elderly Parent With Special Dental Needs

Caring for an elderly parent tends to be tough enough without the added stress of dealing with dental implants or dentures. But, the prospect is not the end of the world—there are many things you can do to ensure that your parent's dental health is not compromised without having to spend a lot of personal time doing the care yourself. Between working with the right dentist, hiring a service provider for part time work, and giving your parent the tools he or she needs to care for his or her own dental health at home, you'll find that dental health for your loved one isn't so tough or time consuming after all. Hopefully you are able to get the support and information you need right here.