It’s hard for someone to lose a tooth. It can be unpleasant and require multiple replacement appointments with a dentist.
It is crucial not to allow a missing tooth or teeth to stay unreplaced for too long. Dental implants are one of the most common and effective forms of replacing missing teeth, but this does not mean that they are the best choice for every patient.
For children, the choices for removing or restoring a missing tooth are fewer than those for adult patients. That is because children still develop their jaws and faces and dental implants may have an effect on that growth.
Here’s why teenagers are better off not getting dental implants.
Developing Jaws Affect the Implants
Changes occur while a human face is forming. The whole jaw of a child can be curving up or down. The teeth are surrounded by ligaments, bone and muscle, all working together as development occurs.
All of this can combine to make an implant the wrong choice for a child or teenager.
The inserted tooth may remain at one angle as the location of the natural teeth changes, or the post that recedes into the gum as the face grows. This can lead to a wide range of aesthetic and dental health problems in future. So, dental implants are not advisable for children below a certain age.
Although being too old for dental implants is extremely rare for anyone, there is such a thing as being too young. Since bone formation is important, it matters a great deal how old your child is.
Some dentists may be able to carry out dental implant procedures for children as young as 14 or 15 and others will say you should wait until they are as old as 20 or 23. However, the individual is what really matters.
For example, girls around 18 and boys around 20 are likely to be successful candidates for dental implants, for the most part.
That’s not a guaranteed age however, so your dentist will take a detailed history of your child and ask many questions.
Often, certain dentists may have a minimum age that a patient must reach before even performing the procedure. This is not to frustrate you or your child, but to ensure that you get the best result possible.
When you’re confident that your child is old enough and properly mature to go for a dental implant, the next step will be to determine what treatment to go for.
If you eventually settle on the ground-breaking all-on-4 treatments, be sure to visit a reputable all-on-4 clinic NZ that is known for having a high success rate.
Alternative Options to Dental Implants for Children and Teenagers
Since dental implants are not feasible for many adolescents, there are a few alternatives worth considering, including dentures and bridges.
Dentures are artificial teeth which can be removed from a patient’s mouth. These are connected to a metal frame that attaches to permanent teeth, covering up the gaps or holes that missing teeth leave.
You may replace a whole line of teeth with full dentures, or a few teeth with a partial denture.
This is one of the most common missing teeth treatments, as dentures look natural and allow patients to eat and drink whatever they want. Best of all, they make the mouth pain-free. Of course, a teenager may look odd wearing dentures but when done by a professional, it will look normal and no one will ever suspect it.
You can look after your dentures the same way you would for your teeth. You can brush, floss and do whatever oral hygiene procedures you usually would. In fact, you may not need additional dentist appointments.
Wearing a denture, however, can be a difficult thing for most teenagers, making the alternative, a bonded bridge, an appealing option for a teenager.
A bonded bridge is a prosthetic tooth with both sides extending. The extensions are attached to the back of the adjacent teeth and hold the tooth in place.
From the front, your teen’s new smile will look very normal.
Losing a tooth can be upsetting for both you and your child. If no other option is feasible, the safest alternative would ultimately be dental implants.
Whether your child is now eligible to have an implant or has to wait, is decided by their age and development. And a dental implant isn’t always the ideal recovery course.
The best thing to do is to have an emergency dental appointment to discuss your options, and proceed with daily appointments for paediatric dentistry to ensure outstanding oral health.