18 Apr How Old Do You Need to Be to Get Dental Implants?
Kids get into accidents all the time, from playing rough, enjoying sports, or for other reasons. It’s stressful for everyone. You want your children to be whole and healthy, and you never want them to be in pain.
Once you make sure they’re going to be okay and get them patched up, you might be faced with what to for “cosmetic” issues like a missing tooth. Don’t let anyone tell you that a knocked out tooth isn’t a potential problem. While it might not be life threatening, losing a permanent tooth is a serious issue and needs to be seen by a dentist.
You may think that a dental implant is the solution to the problem. The tooth is replaced and your child will be able to take care of it normally. While implants are the best option for permanent replacement of missing teeth, the age of your child will go a long way in determining whether they should get an implant now or later.
Bone Development Matters
What determines whether someone is ready for dental implants is, primarily, bone development. Because implants fuse directly to the jaw bone, it’s important that all growth and development of your child’s jaw, teeth, and bones have finished. As children grow, their jaw bones and teeth move and shift. An implant can’t adjust to that growth the way a natural tooth does.
If an implant is placed too soon, it will eventually look abnormal amongst their natural teeth. When this happens, the implants tend to look extra long and out of alignment with the rest of the teeth. At the same time, implants placed too early can also impede jaw growth or stop the rest of a child’s teeth from growing into their natural positions.
While it’s extremely rare for anyone to be too old for dental implants, there is such a thing as being too young. Since bone development is key, how old your child is matters a great deal. Some dentists will say as young as 14 or 15 while others will say as old as 20 or 23. What really matters is the individual person.
For the most part, girls around age 18 and boys around age 20 are likely to be good candidates for dental implants. That’s not a guaranteed age, and your dentist should take a thorough medical history and ask a lot of questions. Some dentists may also have a minimum age a patient has to meet before they’ll consider doing the procedure. This isn’t to frustrate you or your child but to make sure you have the best possible outcome.
Temporary Alternatives to Dental Implants
The reality is that children might lose a permanent tooth at a young age. That missing tooth can cause problems of its own: crooked teeth, difficulty chewing, teasing at school, and more. Your child doesn’t necessarily have to walk around with a gap in their smile for the next five or ten (or longer) years, waiting for dental implants.
An artificial tooth can usually be created to match the shape and color of your child’s natural teeth. This can often be held in place with traditional braces or clear aligners. Your child will keep their great smile and not have to worry about needless teasing. And you’ll be able to worry a little less about that missing tooth.
It can be stressful for both you and your child when they lose a permanent tooth. If it can’t be saved, dental implants will eventually be the best option. Whether your child can have an implant inserted now or they need to wait is determined by their age and their growth and development. Dental implants might not be an option for your child right now so make sure your dentist can offer a viable alternative until it is. This will help maintain their dental health until they’re old enough for a dental implant.