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Can Kids Get a Dental Implant? Here’s What You Need to Know
May 28, 2024  |  Uncategorized

Can Kids Get a Dental Implant? Here’s What You Need to Know

As a parent, you want the best for your child's health - and that includes their dental well-being. So when your little one loses a tooth prematurely or has a missing permanent teeth, it's natural to explore the possibility of dental implants. But hold on, can kids get a dental implant? The answer might surprise you.


I know firsthand the worries and questions that come with navigating your child's dental journey. When my daughter knocked out a permanent tooth during a playground mishap, I found myself in the same boat. I wanted to find the most effective, long-lasting solution to restore her beautiful smile. And I bet you do too.

Schedule a Free New Patient Consultation at Affordable Dentist Near Me with Dr Pham.

Table Of Contents:

What Is the Minimum Age for Dental Implants?

When it comes to dental implants, age matters. A lot.

You see, our jaws are constantly growing and changing shape throughout childhood and adolescence. Until that growth is complete, placing a dental implant is like building a house on shifting sand - it's just not a stable foundation.

Are Dental Implants Safe for Children?

Here's the deal: dental implants and kids don't mix. At least not until they're fully grown.

Why? Because unlike our natural teeth, implants can't adapt to a growing jaw. They're fixed in place, so as the jaw develops around them, they can end up in the wrong position, causing some serious bite and alignment issues down the road.

What Age Can I Consider Dental Implants as an Option?

So when is the right time for implants? Most dental professionals recommend waiting until at least age 18, when jaw growth is typically complete.

But here's a fun fact: girls tend to mature faster than boys (surprise, surprise). So for females, jaw development may be finished by 16, while males might need to wait until 20 or even later.

The bottom line? There's no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the individual. Your dentist can assess your child's growth and let you know when their jaw is ready for an implant.

Alternatives to Dental Implants for Children

So if implants are off the table for kids, what are the options for replacing missing teeth? Turns out, there are quite a few:

Space Maintainers

For young children who lose a baby tooth baby teeth prematurely, a space maintainer can be a lifesaver. It's a simple device that holds the empty space open, allowing the permanent tooth to erupt in the correct position.

Think of it like a bookmark, saving a spot for the adult tooth. Space maintainers are custom-made by dental labs and cemented onto the adjacent teeth. They're a non-invasive way to guide proper dental development until those permanent teeth are ready to make their grand entrance.

Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partial dentures are another option for kids who have lost permanent teeth. They consist of prosthetic teeth attached to a gum-colored base that fits snugly over the remaining natural teeth and gums.

The beauty of removable partials is that they can be taken out for cleaning and adjusted as the child grows. They're not a permanent solution, but they can restore appearance and function while preventing the other teeth from shifting out of place.

Resin-Bonded Bridges

For older children and teens, a resin-bonded bridge (also called a Maryland bridge) can be a good choice for replacing a missing tooth. It's a conservative option that doesn't require extensive shaping of the adjacent teeth.

The bridge consists of an artificial teeth attached with metal wings that are bonded to the back of the neighboring teeth. It's a less invasive alternative to a traditional bridge, making it a more reversible option for a growing smile.

Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridges

A tooth-supported fixed bridge is another possibility for adolescents, if the teeth on either side of the gap are healthy and strong enough to support it. The bridge is made up of an artificial tooth suspended between two dental crowns that fit over the teeth adjacent teeth.

Fixed bridges are cemented in place, so they're not removable like partial denture hides. And they do require significant reduction of the supporting teeth. In a young patient, a resin-bonded bridge is often the preferred choice to preserve healthy tooth structure.

Why Dental Implants Aren't Recommended for Children

We've established that implants and growing jaws don't play well together. But let's dive a little deeper into the reasons why.

First and foremost, a dental implant can interfere with the normal bone growth and development of the jaw and face. It acts like a fixed anchor in the bone, unable to move or adapt as the jaw grows around it.

Over time, this can lead to the implant becoming malpositioned, affecting the alignment of the surrounding teeth and the overall bite. It's like forcing a square peg into a round hole - it just doesn't fit right.

There's also the issue of the periodontal ligament. Our natural teeth are surrounded by this specialized connective tissue that allows for slight movement and acts as a shock absorber. Dental implants don't have a functioning periodontal ligament, so they lack that natural give.

In a growing child, this lack of flexibility can further impede normal jaw development and function. It's like having a stiff, unyielding presence in the midst of a dynamic, changing environment.

The key takeaway? Dental implants can adversely affect future growth and development in children. It's best to wait until the jaw has finished growing before considering implant treatment. In the meantime, there are plenty of other safe and effective options for replacing missing tooth and restoring that beautiful smile.


Key Takeaway: 

Can kids get a dental implant?

Dental implants aren't suitable for kids because their jaws are still growing. Instead, consider options like space maintainers, removable dentures, resin-bonded bridges, or tooth-supported fixed bridges to replace missing teeth until jaw growth is complete.


Conclusion

So, can kids get dental implants? The short answer is, it depends. While dental implants are a fantastic tooth replacement option for adults, they're not typically recommended age for children whose jaws are still developing. But don't worry, that doesn't mean your child has to live with a gap in their smile.


From space maintainers to partial dentures, there are plenty of alternatives to keep your kid grinning from ear to ear until they're ready for a permanent solution like implants. The key is working closely with your child's dentist to find the best fit for their unique needs and stage of growth.

Remember, every child's dental journey is different. But armed with the right knowledge and a trusted dental team, you can help your little one navigate this path with confidence - and a whole lot of smiles along the way.

Schedule a Free New Patient Consultation at Affordable Dentist Near Me with Dr Pham
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