Why Children and Adolescents Can’t Get Dental Implants

Why Children and Adolescents Can’t Get Dental Implants

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Dental Implants in Teenagers
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Many teenagers lose their teeth due to various accidents and are unable to save their knocked out teeth by re-implanting them.  In order to minimize bone loss, a dental implant is usually the ideal treatment.

Girl With a Missing Tooth
Photo Courtesy of Paul de Bruin

An expert in dental implants at my dental school has called dental implants the standard of care when it comes to replacing missing teeth.

Unfortunately, dental implants can only be placed after the jaw has finished growing.  If a dental implant is placed before a child’s jaw has finished growing, then it may impede jaw growth and stop other teeth from growing into their natural positions.

Since dental implants are placed directly into bone, they don’t move very easily.  Natural teeth are able to move because they have a living, functioning periodontal ligament, which dental implants lack.

What Is The Minimum Age to Get Dental Implants?

A few weeks ago, the associate dean at our dental school was giving us a lecture about tooth trauma in adolescents.  He told us that you want to wait until the following ages to get dental implants:

  • Boys: At least 17 years old
  • Girls: At least 14-15 years old

By these ages, the jaw has grown to the point where dental implants shouldn’t adversely affect future growth.

How To Replace Missing Teeth Until Dental Implants Can Be Placed

Not many pre-teens and teenagers want to walk around with a missing tooth.  They could face social isolation due to their “abnormality.” So what can be done to replace the tooth until the child is old enough to have a dental implant placed?

Usually the dentist will be able to make a denture consisting of just one tooth that can fill in the area where the lost tooth used to be.  Then, once jaw growth is completed, the dentist can make place a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.

Do you have any questions or comments about traumatic tooth loss?  Leave them in the comments below!

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