Older Adults Can Benefit from Dental Implants and Proactive Dental Care

Dental care is often overlooked in overall health care among older adults. Like younger people, older people sometimes don't like going to the dentist. Yet, dental implants and routine dental care will benefit physical and emotional well-being.

Recommend This Page
Older Adults Can Benefit from Dental Implants and Proactive Dental Care
4 Min Read August 5th, 2022

Dental implants can often improve older adults' lives. The implants can give them improved physical health. They can enhance a person's attitude about themselves, improving their mindset and emotional well-being.

The National Association of Dental and Craniofacial Research (part of the National Institutes of Health) reports that both partial and total tooth loss in seniors has decreased from the early 1970s through today. 

For adults aged 65+ average of 20.7 remaining teeth, with 17.3% of seniors 65 years and older having no remaining teeth. Adults should have 32 teeth. Older adults, women, African American seniors, current smokers, and those with lower incomes and less education are more likely to have no remaining teeth.

Many issues result from losing a tooth, which is why there are so many benefits to getting a dental implant to replace missing teeth. In the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the team from University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom showed that those who lost all their natural teeth performed around 10% worse in both memory and walking than counterparts with natural teeth. 

Dr. Georgios Tsakos of UCL's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health says that noticing excessive tooth loss in adults is a chance to spot people at higher risk of faster decline later in life.

Tooth loss could be used as an early marker of mental and physical decline in older age, particularly among 60–74-year-olds. 

There are lifestyle and psychosocial factors to consider. Plus, some people fear going to a dentist and becoming proactive when they experience tooth loss.

As people age, their need for dental work usually grows too. Many folks would benefit from dental implants but worry about going to a dentist and fear getting them. However, there are many benefits to getting a dental implant from an experienced professional. Here's a deeper look into some of the benefits and why they matter to you and older family members.

Protect Gums and Bones

Dental implants cover exposed bone and tissue and support your teeth and gums. This is extremely important as your gums and teeth will shift to fill the empty spot, potentially causing many future dental problems. A dental implant helps avoid these issues and can help keep your mouth healthy.

Dental implants will not negatively affect the outcome even if the older adult has bone loss because of osteoporosis/osteopenia. Even with bone loss, dental implants can be placed successfully. 

Gain Back Function

Dentists don't do dental implants just for fun; they perform these procedures because of missing teeth. The loss of teeth can cause discomfort and loss of function, which dental implants aim to restore. Implants will help restore the function of the natural teeth, recover the overall health of the gums and mouth, and improve the quality of life for the individual.

So dental implants can be a powerful solution for anyone who has lost teeth and wants full function of their mouth, as long as they're good candidates for dental implants.

Increases Confidence

Some people will suffer from embarrassment and anxiety over their poor dental health. People who've experienced tooth loss also may experience a lack of confidence or self-consciousness. The implants can begin to restore their personal confidence when interacting with friends and family.

Naturally, some older adults will smile less often because they fear others will judge them for tooth loss. One of the benefits of a dental implant is helping restore a person's confidence and removing the problem that makes someone self-conscious.

Improve Speech Capability

When people speak, they use every part of their mouth to form sounds and words—teeth, tongue, lips, and soft tissue. Losing your teeth will change your speech and voice, potentially creating a speech impediment. Dental implants restore oral health and the shape of a person's mouth, allowing speech to return to normal.

Dental implants can restore so much of what missing teeth have taken from someone's life. If you think a loved one, or perhaps yourself, could benefit from dental implants, talk to your dentist about potential next steps and ensure it's appropriate.

Dental Health Remains Important with Aging

More than 1/4th of those aged 65 and older convey that the overall condition of their mouth and teeth is fair or poor. Some seniors do not buy dental insurance; perhaps they are many of the same people that didn't go to the dentist often when they were younger. 

Research says that nearly a quarter of people aged 65+ haven't seen a dentist within the past five years. Medicare doesn't cover routine preventive dental care or most dental procedures, although private dental insurance is available.

Plus, the older you get, the nerves at the tooth's core lose sensitivity. With less nerve sensitivity, someone might not notice the pain until a problem is well advanced. In addition, Harvard Health says the chance of having tooth damage severe enough to require a root canal or similarly invasive procedure triples once you're over age 65. 

The CDC says that some chronic diseases can impact oral health. Health problems like diabetes and osteoporosis are common among the older population, and poor oral health may contribute to the risk of certain conditions.

Over 120 diseases can potentially cause symptoms to develop inside of the mouth that a dentist can spot during a routine dental visit. Visiting the dentist is more than just about looking good - although that is also important. 

Too many people stay away from the dentist. The percentage of adults aged 65 and over who had a dental visit in the past 12 months, according to the CDC, decreased with age, from 67.7% among adults aged 65–74 to 64.1% among those aged 75–84 to 57.9% among those aged 85 and over. The chart below shows the percentage of adults aged 65 and over who had a dental visit in the past 12 months, by sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, poverty status, and dentate status: 

Graph showing breakdown by age, sex, and ethnicity.

Adults living in long-term care facilities, or receiving in-home care, should not ignore dental care. Staff and caregivers should pay attention to dental problems, and family members should seek professional dental care proactively to benefit health and well-being.

Recommend This Page

About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Long-term health care is a significant financial problem since the costs of care services are rising sharply nationwide. Few of us can afford an additional bill of $4000 a month or more today - much less the $8000 or more monthly in the decades ahead.

Health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, are not the answer either. These traditional health programs pay little or nothing toward most long-term health care. Don't think that Medicaid is an answer either. Unless you have little or no income and assets, you won't qualify for the Medicaid long-term care benefit.

The solution many people have found is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Before saying it is too expensive, think again and get the facts. LTC Insurance is custom-designed, and premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. 

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. Getting LTC Insurance younger saves you a lot of money, and you have many more choices.

Long-Term Care Insurance means access to quality care. It also means choice. You get to choose the type of care, including care in your home. LTC Insurance also means income and asset protection. Care costs are exploding nationwide - your guaranteed tax-free benefits will ease the financial stress.

Indeed, most people want to protect their lifestyle and legacy and not lose their hard-earned savings. You can avoid the crisis by making arrangements, ideally before you retire.

Long-Term Care Insurance is affordable for many people. Your age and health are some of the factors that go into insurance costs - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost? | LTC News.

Have Questions About Long-Term Care Planning?

You might have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Find the cost of care where you live by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

Get Expert Guidance 

Long-term care is very specialized, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies, as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Loved Ones Need Help Now?

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

If your parent or parents need help be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Be Part of LTC NEWS

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

LTC NEWS - Your Marketing and Advertising Partner

Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Shared Links

LTC NEWS offers a 'helpful links' page so readers looking for additional information can find them easily. You can get a dofollow link to your website on LTC NEWS in exchange for a dofollow link on your site.

Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

Sharing News with LTC NEWS 

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com  

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Get Accurate Quotes

Work With A Trusted Specialist

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies
man and woman sitting at desk
Connect With a Long-Term Care Specialist

Find Affordable Insurance and the Right Coverage.

LTC News Trusted & Verified
Learn More
Latest
  • Latest

  • Oldest

Everything
  • Homecare

  • Health

  • Government

  • Care Facilities

  • Pets

  • People

  • Lifestyle

  • Insurance

Step 1 of 4

Find a Specialist

Get Started Today

Trusted & Verified Specialists

Work with a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist Today

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Compare Insurers

+

Claim this listing

Fill out this short form

Step Number:

1
2
3

Request Listing Edit

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Step Number:

1
2
3

Are you a customer of this business, or are you an employee?