A lot has been said about dental implants and why they are regarded as the best solution to missing teeth. The testimonies of those who have tried these implants concur with the narrative that they are the best replacement for missing teeth. Having said this though, one question remains unanswered and is bothering many- are dental implants suitable for children?
We talked to one of the most experienced children’s dentist here at Vita Dental on the appropriateness of dental implants in replacing missing teeth in children and she was more than willing to provide more information on the same. Before delving deep into the matter though, here are a few facts about dental implants that Dr. Jisoo Shin, DDS wants you to take note of;
- Dental implants are usually fused on the jawbone as you know and many may argue that implants on children would be unnecessary as a childes bones are still growing.
- Most kids tend to have accidents that cause some sort of injury while growing up. The injuries usually range from a scraped knee to a broken bone. Most of us don’t make it into adulthood without a scar, or chipped tooth.
- Dentists generally refer to a tooth that has been knocked out as an avulsed tooth.
- The accidental loss of a tooth through trauma is considered a very serious dental emergency for a permanent tooth (which occurs in about 10% of the population).
- When a primary tooth is avulsed, re-implantation is generally not successful.
- The remaining space is usually left open for the permanent tooth to arrive. When a permanent tooth is avulsed, if you act quickly enough, there is a chance the avulsed tooth can be saved and maintained for many years.
What can cause an avulsed tooth?
The usual cause of an avulsed tooth is a force sufficient to break the bond between the tooth and the connection (periodontal ligament) to the bone.
An avulsed tooth has no oxygen or blood flow and will die quickly if not re implanted.
The primary goal of quick re-implementation is to maintain the periodontal ligament, so that the tooth is not rejected.
The avulsed tooth will always need to be splinted to the other teeth, and usually, but not always, require a root canal.
The speed in which the tooth is re-implanted, cleanliness, and how hydrated or wet it has been, all are essential roles in whether or not re-implantation of the avulsed tooth will be successful.
So to the main course, can children get dental implants?
Unfortunately, for children, the answer is no.
The earliest recommended ages for dental implants are usually;
- Males-At least 17 years old.
- Females-At least 15 years old.
The determining factor for males and females is completion of growth. Females generally complete growth at an earlier age and thus can receive dental implants sooner to replace lost teeth.
Here are reasons why implants are not suitable for children;
Children lose their baby teeth as part of a natural process and these are closely followed by permanent adult teeth.
A child’s jawbone is also growing and developing and most likely children will be undergoing orthodontic treatment to align the teeth into the best possible position.
Because the success of a dental implant relies on healthy jawbone, then bone which is still developing and altering the overall shape of the Jaw.
Most people assume it’s the titanium or metal alloys that make dental implants unsuitable for children, but in reality that’s not the case. The reason children cannot have dental implants is simple: they haven’t stopped growing.
So you may ask, what is the alternate treatment options to dental implants for mature teens?
Few children and most teenagers are going to want to replace their missing tooth as soon as possible. The options are quite limited and include the following;
Flipper-This is a removable appliance that is able to fill the space of the missing tooth with an artificial tooth. This can create a cosmetic appearance that would be undetectable by others. It can appear very natural looking, but may affect speech and taste.
Dental Bonding-While very rare, there are instances where a “fake” tooth can be bonded to a natural tooth.
Braces (Orthodontics) – Sometimes the missing tooth space can be closed with dental braces, or a false tooth can be placed on an orthodontic wire while the bite is restored.
Accidents happen. Fortunately, most tooth loss is short-lived for a child, as permanent teeth will soon come in to replace the baby teeth. As a parent, you should therefore be patient enough for the permanent teeth to develop or talk to your dentist for the best alternative to replace missing teeth.
If you are in Houston and are looking for the best children’s dentist, then look no further than Vita Dental Houston. We have the best dentists and offer the best dental services and advice on various dental complications. Give us a call or pay us a visit today and we will provide more information on the best alternatives for missing teeth in children.