Are Dental Implants a Good Choice for My Teen? Ask Our Kannapolis Kids’ Dentist
Dental implants are usually the preferred method of replacing lost or missing teeth. Unlike many other dental restoration options, implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth, right down to the “root.” Generally, any adult healthy enough to undergo routine dental work can get implant surgery. Teenagers, on the other hand, may have to wait. Keep reading to learn more.
Dental Implants and Jaw Development
The reason why dental implants are usually so successful at restoring lost teeth is that they are placed directly into the jawbone, where they integrate just like a natural tooth. This is why the jawbone must be fully grown before implant surgery can be performed. If the bone hasn’t completely developed, serious problems can arise later. For example, if the teeth and jaw are still in transition, the implants might not be correctly placed to compensate for the future growth. As a result, they could become crooked as the jaw grows, which could stop the natural teeth from growing into the proper position. Implants can also become submerged relative to the other teeth as the jaw finishes developing.
When Does the Jaw Stop Growing?
Since every patient is different, there is no “hard-and-fast” answer to this. But generally, growth in the jawbone continues well into the teenage years. The upper and lower jaw finish growing at different times, and teenage girls are usually finished before their male peers. Some female patients may be ready for dental implants by the age of 14 or 15, while male patients will usually have to wait until at least age 17. Interestingly, X-rays of growth plates in the wrist can reveal whether jawbone development is complete. A thorough examination by an oral surgeon can also help.
Tooth Replacement Alternatives for Teens
For the average teen, walking around with a gap-toothed smile not an option. Fortunately, there are many temporary tooth replacements available besides implants. One option is a removable partial denture, a dental appliance that features artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. Clasps or precision attachments hold the denture in place.
Since dentures need to be removed for cleaning, however, many teens often prefer bonded bridges instead. These replacement teeth are fixed in place with metal or resin “wings” that are attached to the natural teeth on each side of the gaps.
Does Your Teenager Need an Oral Surgeon in Sherrills Ford NC?
If your teen requires tooth replacement, wisdom teeth removal, or another treatment, you can learn more about your options by scheduling an appointment with the oral care professionals at Sherrills Ford Pediatric Dentistry. Contact our local pediatric dentist office today to schedule a consultation, or fill out our easy contact form.