Accidents happen, especially when you’re young. Kids play and mess around, often ending up with broken or missing teeth. For adults, missing teeth can be replaced easily through the use of dental implants. For children, however, dental implants are not recommended.
Why Aren’t Dental Implants Good For Children?
Dental implants contain titanium and an artificial crown (usually made of porcelain or metal alloys or both). Most people assume it’s the titanium or metal alloys that make dental implants unsuitable for children, but in reality that’s not the case. These materials are safe and sturdy, and will not harm your mouth.
The reason children cannot have dental implants is simple: they haven’t stopped growing. A child’s jaw is continuously developing as their body grows. Dental implants can only be placed in adults because their jaws have ceased to grow.
What Happens If an Implant Is Placed In a Child’s Mouth?
No dentist should be willing to use dental implants on a child because it will obstruct natural jaw growth. When this natural growth is hindered, it can cause the other teeth to be pushed into awkward positions in the mouth, or cause the jaw to grow asymmetrically.
More recently, a special type of titanium implant has been used in paediatric dental care. Special titanium implants can be used in conjunction with braces to enhance tooth movements. These implants are only used on a temporary basis and thus jaw growth is not a concern.
At What Age Are Dental Implants Allowed?
Once a child’s jaw has finished growing, they are generally a good candidate for dental implants. There is a range of ages at which individuals will complete their jaw bone growth. For females, the jaw is fully developed by the average age of 15, while for males it occurs two years later at an average age of 17.
What Other Treatments Are Available For Kids With Missing Teeth?
It is important to remember that if a child has lost their baby teeth, new teeth will be coming in. Tooth replacement in children should only be for instances where they’ve lost a permanent tooth.
There are several alternatives to dental implants that are suitable for children. Your child can wear a flipper which is a removable appliance that fills the space of their missing tooth with an artificial one. These appliances look natural but can affect your child’s speech and taste. Braces can also be used to push the space between two teeth (where the missing tooth would’ve been) closer together, or more often an artificial tooth can be connected to the braces. Sometimes there is no need to replace the missing tooth and a small bonded retainer (space maintainer) can be used to hold the other teeth in position until growth has stabilised.
For alternate treatments, contact Pearl Dental. There’s no reason your child shouldn’t have the smile they want and the smile they deserve.