22 Jul Dental Implants for Teens
Dental implants are the ideal replacement for missing and lost teeth. Implants are not only strong and stable, they also look, feel, and function similar to natural teeth. Typically, any adult who is healthy enough to undergo routine dental work can get implant surgery. In comparison, teenagers may have to wait.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a missing natural tooth . Once the dentist puts the implants in the jawbone, the implants will combine with the natural bone and form a robust foundation to support one or two fake teeth, known as crowns.
A connector or abutment is then placed on top of the implant to hold the crowns and protect the implant. The crowns are custom made to match the teeth and mouth. The objective is to support the fake teeth without affecting the remaining teeth, through grinding, in the mouth .
For over 30 years, dental implants have been used safely. Certainly, they are considered the strongest devices designed to support new teeth. A dental implant is also considered one of the most reliable and safest dental treatments available.
Are dental implants safe for teenagers?
Age is a restriction, so teenagers cannot get dental implants until they reach a specific age. People can consider dental implants once they have adult teeth. Dental implants can only be done for teens with jaws that have finished growing.
Natural teeth can still move and change position along with normal growth and jaw development. On the other hand, implants do not. Since implants connect with the jawbone to replace tooth roots, their location is permanent.
It is highly recommended that teenagers wait until they are above 21 years old to get implant surgery. By then, the jaw would have likely finished growing or at the very least have reached a point where dental implants will not adversely affect future growth.
Are there any alternatives aside from dental implants?
Having missing teeth as a teenager can result in significant loss of self-esteem. Missing teeth can worsen a teenager’s insecurity and might discourage them from socialising. However, even if they cannot have implants yet, there are other ways that can replace a missing tooth until they are old enough for an implant.
Removable partial denture
One of the most prevalent options for a teenager is a removable partial denture. A removable partial denture consists of a plastic gum-coloured base with an attached fake tooth matching the missing tooth’s type, shape, and jaw position.
Another common choice is a bridge. The adult version needs permanent alteration of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to support the bridge. However, the teenager’s bridge, known as a “bonded” or “Maryland bridge,” makes use of little tabs of dental material. These dental materials are bonded to the back of the fake tooth with the extended portion then bonded to the back of the adjacent supporting teeth.
Getting treatment using braces and clear aligners can move the remaining teeth in certain ways that close the gap the missing tooth made. Both dentists and orthodontists can use either types of treatment. However, dentists have a more limited scope than orthodontists do.
If your case is simple, a visit to your dentist to put on braces is all that’s needed. If the case is complicated, an orthodontist is trained to tackle problems that your teeth may have. While they are more expensive as specialists, remember that you are paying for expertise as well as years of practice!