Can Anyone Get Dental Implants? A Comprehensive Guide


Dental implants have a high success rate and can be an effective long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. They offer several benefits, including improved appearance, speech, and comfort. However, dental implants may not be the best choice for everyone. Factors such as age, bone density, gum health, and certain medical conditions can affect a person’s suitability for dental implants. This article explores these factors and provides information on alternatives if dental implants are not suitable for you.

I. Age Considerations for Dental Implants

A. Upper Age Limit

There’s no upper age limit for dental implants. While older people may be more likely to have a smaller jaw or a health condition that could make them unsuitable, success rates are comparable at all ages.[1]

B. Lower Age Limit

On the other hand, there is a lower age limit – dental implant surgery is not generally recommended for patients under about 21 years. This is because teenagers’ jaws may still be developing, which could cause discrepancies in the position of the implant in relation to the teeth next door over time.

II. Bone Density and Dental Implants

A. Bone Requirements for Implants

Your upper or lower jaw should be large and strong enough to support an implant for the long term. If you have a small jaw, or a bone condition, this could affect your suitability or healing time after surgery.

B. Bone Grafting

A bone graft procedure could help to increase the size of your jaw, but not everyone is suitable for this procedure. If you’re replacing all your teeth with implants, full arch implants may not require as much support from the jaws.

III. Gum Health and Dental Implants

A. Importance of Healthy Gums

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is one of the most common oral health problems. It can affect healing and the long-term success of implant treatments if the gum supporting the crown is swollen or bacteria under the gum affects the supporting jaw bone.

B. Gum Disease Treatment

Your dentist will screen for gum problems when they assess your suitability for implants. If you have gum disease, this will need to be treated before your implant procedure can begin.

Mild gum disease (gingivitis) can usually be treated by improving your oral hygiene at home or seeing a hygienist. Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may require surgery, and your gum will need time to heal before an implant treatment.

IV. Smoking and Dental Implants

A. Impact of Smoking on Implant Success

Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums and jaw, which affects healing following oral surgery. A 2007 study of implant patients found that 15.8% of implants failed in smokers compared to just 1.4% in non-smokers.[2]

B. Quitting Smoking for Implant Success

The more you smoke, the greater the risk of implant failure. Your dentist will recommend that you quit smoking while your mouth heals and while the implant bonds with the jaw bone. This can take several months.

V. Medical Conditions and Dental Implants

Certain health problems that affect bone healing could also make you less eligible for dental implants. Your dentist will discuss your medical history during your consultation. Some conditions that may impact the success of dental implants include:
Autoimmune diseases
Cancer and cancer treatments

VI. Dental Implant Procedure

A. Consultation and Evaluation

Your dentist will evaluate your oral health, take X-rays, and discuss your medical history to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants.

B. Implant Placement

During the implant placement, the dentist will surgically insert the titanium post into the jawbone. This procedure usually takes one to two hours, depending on the number of implants being placed.

C. Osseointegration

After the implant is placed, a period of osseointegration occurs, during which the implant fuses with the jawbone. This process typically takes three to six months, providing a strong foundation for the artificial tooth.

D. Abutment Placement

Once osseointegration is complete, an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment serves as a connector between the implant and the dental crown.

E. Dental Crown Placement

Finally, the dental crown is custom-made to match the color and shape of your natural teeth. The crown is then attached to the abutment, completing the dental implant procedure.

VII. Dental Implant Maintenance

A. Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is crucial for maintaining the longevity of dental implants. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash can help prevent gum disease and protect your implants.

B. Regular Dental Checkups

Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings will help ensure the long-term success of your dental implants. Your dentist can monitor the health of your gums and the surrounding bone to catch any potential issues early.

C. Avoiding Damaging Habits

To prolong the life of your dental implants, avoid habits that can damage them, such as chewing on hard items like ice or opening packages with your teeth. If you grind your teeth at night, speak with your dentist about using a nightguard to protect your implants and the surrounding teeth.

VIII. Alternatives to Dental Implants

If you’re not a candidate for dental implants, there are more ways to replace a missing tooth. Depending on how many teeth you want to replace, your dentist might discuss the pros and cons of:

A. Partial Dentures
B. Tooth supported Bridges

IX. Recovery After Dental Implant Treatment

A. Post-Operative Care

Following dental implant surgery, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s post-operative care instructions to ensure a smooth recovery. These instructions may include:

Taking prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter pain relievers to manage discomfort.
Applying ice packs to the face to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Rinsing your mouth gently with warm salt water to keep the surgical site clean and promote healing.
Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and strenuous activities for a few days to minimize the risk of complications.

B. Diet

During the initial recovery period, it’s crucial to maintain a soft diet to avoid putting unnecessary stress on the surgical site. Foods like yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and soups are suitable options. Gradually reintroduce harder foods into your diet as the healing progresses and discomfort decreases.

C. Oral Hygiene

Be gentle around the surgical site when brushing and flossing during the initial healing period. Your dentist may recommend a soft-bristle toothbrush and specific techniques to keep the area clean without causing irritation.

D. Follow-Up Appointments

Attend all follow-up appointments as scheduled by your dentist. These visits allow your dentist to monitor the healing process, remove any sutures if necessary, and address any concerns or complications that may arise. Your dentist will also assess the progress of osseointegration and determine when it’s appropriate to proceed with the next steps of the dental implant procedure.

E. Expected Recovery Time

The recovery time after dental implant surgery varies depending on the individual, the complexity of the procedure, and the patient’s overall health. In general, most patients can expect to recover from the initial surgery within a week or two. However, the complete healing process, including osseointegration, can take several months.

By adhering to your dentist’s post-operative care instructions and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can promote a successful recovery and enjoy the long-term benefits of dental implants.


Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for replacing missing teeth, but they’re not suitable for everyone. Factors like age, bone density, gum health, and certain medical conditions can affect a person’s eligibility for dental implants. If dental implants are not the right option for you, there are alternative treatments available, such as partial dentures, dental bridges, or removable dentures. Consult with your dentist to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

Find out more about dental implants in Sydney
If you want to know more about replacing missing teeth, or you’re ready to take the next step, call our team at Dentistry By Design to book an implant consultation.

Call 02 9810 5507 or send an online enquiry to talk to a Dentistry By Design dentist today.


[1] Fixed Implant‐Supported Prostheses in Elderly Patients: A 5‐Year Retrospective Study of 133 Edentulous Patients Older than 79 Years. Clin Implant Dent Relat Res, 6 (2004).

[2] Smoking can cause implants to fail. Br Dent J 202, 182 (2007).

Your Balmain Dentist

Book a consultation with our internationally-recognised professionals at Dentistry by Design to discuss your options today. Call us on 02 9810 5507 to book an appointment.
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Rebecca Silveira

Practice Manager

Rebecca has over 25 year’s experience in the dental industry. 

Rebecca started her career as a dental assistant/front office coordinator. Through the years, she progressed into treatment coordinating and then practice management. 

She has an eye for detail and is a perfectionist. Her management & people skills allow her to provide support to the Dentistry By Design team day in, day out. 

Rebecca is passionate about dentistry and loves being privileged enough to be part of an amazing team that changes people’s lives!

Catherine George

Oral Health Therapist

Catherine completed a Bachelor of Oral Health (Therapy and Hygiene) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga.

She is passionate about making her patients feel more comfortable in a dental setting.

Catherine is enthusiastic about Oral Health promotion and strongly believes in preventative dentistry.

She is dedicated to educating her patients on the best oral health care.

She loves seeing a smile on other people’s faces and would love to see you with a happy and healthy smile.

When she is not at work she enjoys the outdoors, playing soccer and beach volley.

Kate Beaumont

Oral Health Therapist

Kate completed her Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) at the University Of Sydney in 2014.  As an Oral Health Therapist, dual-qualified to practice as a Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist, she has a strong interest in preventative dental care and believes that oral health is an integral part of overall health.

Kate enjoys working with children and adults alike, educating, motivating and assisting in maintaining teeth for life. Her interest in continuing professional education helps her remain consistent with modern dental practices and progressive treatment plans.

Kate enjoys working in a thriving team and works effectively along-side other highly qualified professionals. She has an interest in the growing industry of cosmetic procedures and excels in performing these treatments. Her approachable and reassuring nature creates a positive dental experience for all patients.

In her spare time, Kate enjoys spending time with her family and friends, discovering new restaurants and travelling. She appreciates the simple pleasures of a coffee and a walk but also loves an extravagant day at the races with all her friends.

Nadia Azzi

Oral Health Therapist

Nadia completed her Bachelor of Oral Health (BOH) at the University Of Sydney in 2012. With a passion for preventative dentistry and treating children Nadia has a keen focus on providing pain free, thorough treatment for all patients. 

An experienced Oral Health Therapist who values patient care and is committed to ensuring patients receive the best care possible, Nadia is committed to staying up to date with the latest dental practices and treatments available. 

As part of the dental team, Nadia believes that the Oral Health Therapist’s role is of utmost importance in maintaining the oral health of patients of all ages. She has a passion for counselling patients with previous dental trauma and helping them through regular dental treatment as well as setting good foundations in oral health for younger patients and providing them with happy, fun dental experiences. 

Nadia has also served as director and dental mission coordinator for Maronites on Mission, a non-profit which helps the homeless in Australia and runs annual dental and medical mission trips to the Philippines and Lebanon. She enjoys charitable work immensely and is always looking for new ways to use her skills to help those in need. 

Outside of dentistry, Nadia enjoys spending time with and caring for her family, cooking and travelling.

Dr Rebecca Ellis

Specialist Periodontist
BDS(Distn), DCD(Perio)

Rebecca undertook her dental training at Otago University in New Zealand graduating top of her class with her BDS(Distinction) in 2011. 

Dr Teck Tang

Specialist Periodontist
BDSc Hons (WA) DClinDent (Perio) (Adel) FRACDS (perio) 

Dr Teck Tang graduated with his Bachelor of Dental Science with Honours at the University of Western Australia. He then completed his specialist training in Periodontics.

Dr Iain Gavan

BChD (Leeds, UK), MFDS, PGDipDigitalOrtho(UK) 

Dr Iain Gavan has been practicing dentistry for over 10 years and provides the most up to date modern dental care in a calm and empathic manner. He enjoys building long term relationships with his patients.

Iain is dedicated to continuing professional development in a rapidly changing field. In 2020 he completed a diploma in digital orthodontics, increasing his expertise straightening teeth with clear aligners (such as Invisalign).  He also spent time at the world-renowned Kois Institute in Seattle (USA) in 2018, which teaches the most up to date and highly regarded evidence based dentistry. He completed the Master Implant Program in 2022 at the renowned Brener Institiute in Sydney, which is a leading training centre in implant placement and tooth replacement.

Originally from Lancashire in North West England, Iain qualified from Leeds University in the UK. He has spent time working in a Maxillofacial department in Manchester (UK), gaining experience in oral surgery, facial injury reconstruction, head and neck cancer and dental emergencies.

Iain moved to Australia in 2014 and became an Australian Citizen in 2018. He has worked at distinguished private practices in Forster (NSW), Melbourne and Ballarat. Iain has worked at a state of the art clinic, that specialises in using advanced technology to digitally design smiles and replace teeth using the Allon4 implant system, gaining valuable experience in complex full mouth rehabilitations and the development of new smiles.

He is a member of the Australian Dental Association, The Faculty of Dental Surgery (UK) and was a member of Royal College of Surgeons Glasgow. He also carried out dental charity work in Southern India, providing dental care to remote communities.

In 2021 he welcomed his first daughter and is enjoying parenthood. In his spare time Iain enjoys spending time with his photography, travelling, walking his dog Murphy and exploring Sydney.


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Dr Jemima Kalos

Bachelor of Liberal Studies (Honours I), Bachelor of Dentistry (Honours I), Graduate Diploma in Clinical Dentistry (Oral Implants) 

Dr Jemima Kalos is committed to excellence in Dentistry and the provision of outstanding dental care to her patients. Dr Kalos graduated with a Bachelor of Dentistry with First Class Honours after completing a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (Honours I) at the University of Sydney.

Dr. Kalos has also completed extensive continuing education in Dentistry in Australia and the USA including obtaining the highest mark and a distinction in the selective Post graduate Diploma in Oral Implants through the University of Sydney. She has also successfully completed her Primary examinations for Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.

Dr Kalos has been presented with numerous awards for clinical and academic excellence in Dentistry including the prestigious Rudolf Gunz University Medal, The Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons Prize, The Martin Halas Prize and The John Stephen Hill Memorial Prize. Her special interests include restorative and cosmetic dentistry, prosthodontics and implants and provision of dental treatment to anxious patients.

She is past Treasurer of the Australian Prosthodontic Society (NSW) and also a member of the respected American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Outside of dentistry, Jemima has enjoys cooking, staying fit and spending time with her husband and three small children.

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