There are many options to replace permanently missing teeth among teenagers. One of them is dental implants. As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to understand how dental implants work to decide whether they are a suitable option for your teenager.
Firstly, remember that the jaw needs to have fully developed for the dental implant procedure to be successful. It’s only after the teenager has completed the adolescent stage that the teeth and jaws stop undergoing changes that could impact the success rate of implant treatment.
A dental implant, when placed too early on a teenager, will not expand and grow together with the jaw properly. This results in what dental experts commonly refer to as buried teeth. These teeth appear to be too low in a person’s mouth because the natural teeth have grown around them. Visit an orthodontist with your teenager, and have them review his/her current dental development to find out if implants are a good fit.
When is the right time to have implants?
It is important to wait until the jaws and the face have completely grown before an implant treatment. Only a qualified orthodontist will be able to tell whether the growth phase is complete by doing a few physical exams. Sometimes specialized x-rays will be used to evaluate the patient and determine if the growth of the face and jaws is complete. Orthodontists use other factors to determine if the growth is complete (e.g. physical attributes like an increase in shoe size) to determine if the patient has finished growing. However, it is important to remember that these are estimates; it is not possible to be certain if someone has completed physical growth.
What to do if you can’t have implants
If you have a teenager and the orthodontist doesn’t recommend implants as a tooth replacement option, there are other alternatives that you may consider. For instance, you may look into tooth replacement procedures that are temporary and will only last for a few years. A good example is the bonded dental bridges; they are very effective, and are comfortable to wear. The fixed or bonded bridges will not affect the adjacent teeth. However, it is important to discuss the complications associated with them.
Review other options
The most suitable dental treatment for a teenager will depend on the oral situation. For instance, dentures may not be a suitable choice since they normally have very active lifestyles and the discomfort can negatively impact their quality of life. There are different dental procedures that will help to replace the missing teeth, and not expose the rest of the healthy teeth to any form of damage.
Consult your Hummingbird dentist who is well versed in tooth replacement options for teenagers. Your family dentist should provide the best advice on how to go about the situation. Most importantly, practicing good oral hygiene will impact the success rate of the implant treatment when the time comes.
Do you have more questions related to teens and dentistry? Learn more about Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Health to get the information you need.