July 2, 2022
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants are considered the premier option for several reasons, the main one being their incredible ability to perfectly replicate your lost pearly whites. But are they a viable option for everyone with missing teeth, regardless of age? If your teenager has suffered a missing tooth, you might be scrambling to figure out a safe and effective way to replace it—however, you might be surprised to hear that dental implants usually aren’t a good option for teens. Keep reading to learn more from your dentist.
Are Dental Implants a Viable Option for Teenagers?
The short answer here is no, teenagers are not usually good dental implant candidates. This is because teenagers are still growing; kids rarely stop changing between the ages of 12 and 18, meaning that the ligaments and tissues that surround their teeth are still coming together and strengthening. An implant can create issues, since it will try to remain stationary while the other teeth are naturally shifting and moving around. In some cases, the implanted tooth can even recede into the gums!
Since there’s quite a bit of jawbone development occurring during the teenage years, dental implants need to wait until adulthood—typically around age 21 or so. By then, the jawbone has usually fully developed and hardened, and there is a much higher chance of success for the implants. However, it’s important to note that the upper and lower jaws can grow at different rates, so sometimes it’s possible to get implants in one area sooner than the other.
What Teeth Replacement Options Are Suitable for Teens?
Just because dental implants aren’t a good option for teenagers doesn’t mean that there aren’t other effective solutions! Here are some ways that your dentist can replace your teen’s missing teeth:
- Dentures – Partial dentures are a popular restorative treatment option for teens, as they’re quite durable and also natural-looking. Patients don’t have to worry about any dietary restrictions, either! While it might seem strange for a teen to sport dentures, they’re much more common than you think—and incredibly discreet!
- Bridges – Bridges are the other go-to option for teenagers with missing teeth. They consist of one of more artificial teeth that are attached to crowns placed on abutment teeth. Like dentures, they look natural and also don’t inhibit your teen’s ability to eat.
As great as dental implants are, your teenager is likely not a great candidate for receiving them to replace their displaced teeth. That said, missing teeth are a serious problem and can often lead to losing additional teeth, meaning that swift treatment should be a priority. If your teen is suffering from a missing tooth, don’t hesitate to talk with your dentist about possible options for restoring their smile.
About the Author
Dr. Patrick Crowley received his dental doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has proudly served patients and families in the Edmond, OK area for several years. Dr. Crowley is a member of several professional organizations including the Oklahoma Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry. His practice is pleased to offer several available services, including restorative dentistry options for teens and adults. If you have any questions for Dr. Crowley or would like to schedule a visit, feel free to reach out online or by phone: (405) 751-5515.
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