Tooth replacement options are commonly sought after by adults of all ages but you may be curious about the options available to children and teenagers. Some methods of tooth replacement, such as dental implants, involve major surgical techniques executed by a dental surgeon and may only be compatible with certain patients. These specific qualifications might involve previous dental health history, current circumstances, patient allergies, and another factor to be covered in this article—age.
As a parent, you definitely want your child to feel confident and comfortable with their smile but you also want them to only undergo safe treatment. To learn more about whether or not dental implants are safe for young patients, read below to find out what dental health experts have to say on the matter.
In understanding whether or not dental implants are safe for children, the general answer shared between dental health experts concludes to be no, dental implants are NOT a safe option for young patients.
Vita Dental touches upon the reasons behind this conclusion in relation to jawbone development and alignment of the teeth. Endosteal implants, the most commonly used type, are placed securely into the jawbone. So, not having a fully developed jawbone would potentially cause a younger patient to have unsuccessful and damaging results.
Should children get dental implants?
A dental implant is placed when the jawbone is done developing. A child’s jawbone is usually undergoing growth, and for this reason, children cannot get dental implants. Installing an implant in a young child will not only delay jaw growth but also inhibit the natural placement of teeth in the mouth.
So if dental implants are unsafe for children who have not yet fully developed jawbones, then you might be asking, “At what age might it be safe for teenagers or adolescents to consider this option?”
Dr. Evanson says the minimal age for girl patients to undergo implant surgery is 15 and for boys, it’s 17. You might be wondering why there’s an age difference between the two, wouldn’t the minimal age be the same? Look below to see why that’s not the case.
The minimum ages for dental implants are:
- At least 15 years old for girls.
- At least 17 years old for boys.
The recommended age is different for each gender because bone growth in girls is usually complete before bone growth in boys. By these ages, the jaw has probably finished growing, or has at least reached the point where dental implants aren’t likely to adversely affect future growth.
Although most younger and lesser developed patients are not often immediate candidates for dental implant surgery, there are still rare cases in young patients when dental implants might be necessary. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these special circumstances will face added risks on top of the normal safety risks associated with implant procedures that are less complex. Weighing these risks is a crucial component of ensuring your child’s well-being after surgery and determining if dental implants really are the right option for them.
Here’s what Dr. Khazian thinks about this subject:
Dental implants in adolescents
Particular developmental disorders may necessitate the use of dental implants in still-growing adolescents. For instance, hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia cause hypodontia. Generally speaking, it is prudent to wait until the completion of skeletal maturation before dental implant placement to avoid imperfect fixture postioning or stunt osseous expansion.