Minimum Age For Dental Implants
For patients interested in tooth replacement options, dental implants are one of the most popular treatment options for replacing missing teeth. But if you are a parent, you may be wondering what tooth replacement treatment options are appropriate for your adolescents or children? Due to accidents and injuries, tooth loss is more common among adolescents and children than you may think. Below more information on dental implant treatment is provided, including details on the minimum age for eligible patients.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are posts that are installed into the jawbone during a surgical procedure. Like the root of a natural tooth, dental implants are designed to provide a secure foundation in the jawbone. In total, the implant treatment takes several months up to one year and requires a number of appointments with your dental provider. The dental implant treatment is a time investment, but the result is a new tooth that is stable, secure, and durable enough to last 25 years or more.
Qualifications for Dental Implant Treatment
There are a number of criteria that a dentist will consider when they are screening patients for dental implants. This criteria usually includes factors that impact the long-term success of dental implants, including the patient’s age, oral health, the number and location of missing teeth, and the health of the jawbone.
Minimum Age for Dental Implants
You may be surprised to hear that a patient’s age is one of the first eligibility criteria that is considered by dental providers. This is because age is important in helping determine if the patient has reached skeletal maturity and if the jawbone is fully developed. When implants are installed before puberty it can disrupt future bone development and compromise the durability of the implant. Implants that are installed too early result in:
- Bite problems
- Spaces between teeth
- Bone loss
- Changes to the appearance of the jaw and mouth
Every child grows at their own rate. However, for most adolescents, their jawbone will continue to grow until they reach 18-20 years of age. To avoid the possible complications of installing implants too early, is not recommended that patients under the age of 18 seek out dental implants until they have reached skeletal maturity.
Alternative Treatment Options
There are several tooth replacement treatment options available for patients who are too young for dental implants. Dental providers and oral surgeons commonly recommend patients who are young find a temporary solution until they are able to get a more permanent solution. Dentists and surgeons will work with their young patients to develop a temporary treatment plan until dental implants are more feasible. Often, these treatment plans include custom-designed dental bridges or partial removable dentures that will restore function and appearance.
Waiting until young patients with missing teeth are older will dramatically lower the risk of severe dental implant complications. If your child has recently lost a tooth, you should have a discussion with your provider about the tooth replacement options that are appropriate for them.