January 24, 2022
Losing a tooth is awful at any age, but it can be especially devastating to a teenager. Having an empty space in their grin might make them feel too insecure to audition for a play they want to star in, try out for a sports team, or be social in general. If your teenage son or daughter is missing a tooth, you might have considered having them get a dental implant to fill the gap. But can teenagers get dental implants? Read on to find out!
But First, How Do Dental Implants Work?
Instead of replacing just the biting sections of the teeth, dental implants also bring back the roots that are embedded in the jawbone. This makes them function more like natural teeth than any other solution currently available.
A dental implant itself is a small cylindrical rod (usually made from titanium) that is surgically placed into the jaw where a missing tooth’s roots used to be. Over the next several months, the jawbone naturally grows around it. Once the implant has finished integrating with the jawbone, it can support a dental crown (or bridge or denture) on top that will always stay in place.
Of course, a good dental implant candidate needs to have a strong, healthy, and fully developed jawbone in order to support the implant post.
Are Teenagers Eligible for Dental Implants?
Generally, dental implants are not recommended for teenagers since their jaws are still growing. Typically, a person’s jawbone is done developing between the ages of 16 and 18, but it can take up until the mid-twenties in some cases.
Placing a dental implant while the jawbone is still developing can have disastrous results. The bone and tissue that surround the implant could move into new positions as the implant remains stationary. As a result, the implant could be pushed out or even recede into the gums. Just to be on the safe side, it’s best to find another tooth replacement method for your teen.
Other Ways for Your Teen to Replace Their Missing Teeth
Until your teen becomes eligible for dental implants, there are other ways to fill the gaps in their grin. A popular solution is a dental bridge – a string of dental crowns that is fitted over two of the remaining teeth. However, they come with the drawback of needing to file down those two teeth, leaving them more susceptible to damage and decay over time.
Another option is a partial denture. This appliance contains a specific number of replacement teeth and snaps into place behind the natural teeth. While a partial denture preserves the remaining tooth structure, it has to be removed to be cleaned, which can be inconvenient for a teenager.
If your teen is dealing with an incomplete smile, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Talk to their dentist about how they can enjoy a full set of pearly whites until they qualify for dental implants.
About the Author
Dr. Dominic G. Carlson earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Creighton University. He is currently working to complete an advanced post-graduate course on dental implants, so he hopes to place implants himself at Carlson Dentistry of Bakersfield. For now, he refers his dental implant patients to an oral surgeon down the street, making the process convenient. He also offers lifelike dental bridges and dentures for teens who need tooth replacement. To learn more about how your teen can rebuild their smile, reach out to Dr. Carlson by calling 661-327-7301.