Missing teeth or having giant, visible gaps in your mouth can be devastating to anyone, but it is extremely devastating if you are a teen. In an effort to correct gaps or spaces created by tooth loss many teenagers consider getting dental implants. Unfortunately, they may not be a good candidate for this type of tooth replacement treatment.

Why are Teenagers Not a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Teens are often not good candidates for dental implants because they are still growing and developing. If the dental implant, which is a small titanium rod that is surgically placed into the jawbone, is placed before the jawbone is fully formed, it can fall out.

Considering how complex the procedure is for dental implants, many oral surgeons and dentists would rather wait until the bones are fully developed and grown. Waiting allows the bones to harden and be fully prepared to successfully receive the dental implant.

What Age Can a Person Get a Dental Implant?

There is no set age in which a person can get a dental implant. The age isn’t set because every person grows and develops at a different rate. Some individuals may be ready for a dental implant around the age of 17 or 18 while others may need to wait until 21.

Typically, oral surgeons and dentists recommend individuals wait until 16 to consider dental implants. However, some girls may be good candidates for this procedure around the age of 14 while boys may be able to get them around 18.

Age isn’t the only factor that determines when a person is ready for a dental implant. Where the dental implant will be placed can also factor into when a teen can get an implant. The lower and upper jaw grows at different speeds. This means a teen may be able to get an implant in the upper jaw before the lower jaw.

Treatment Options for Teens Who Cannot Get Dental Implants

Just because a teen may not be a good candidate for dental implants doesn’t mean he or she has to walk around with missing teeth. There are a number of teeth replacement options that can temporarily fix any gaps or spaces until the teen reaches an age when she or he can get dental implants.

One of the most popular teeth replacement options for teens is a removable partial denture. Removable partial dentures are durable dental appliances that place artificial teeth on a gum-colored base. The dental appliance snaps into place using tiny clasps that are attached to the teen’s natural teeth. Once attached, the removable partial denture blends in with a teen’s natural teeth to give the appearance of a smooth, straight smile.

Teens often choose to go with removable partial dentures as a treatment option because of two reasons. First, it is temporary. Teens can have a perfect smile until they are ready to undergo permanent teeth replacement treatment.  The other reason is affordability. Removable partial dentures are more affordable than dental implants and bonded bridges.

Even though removable partial dentures are a popular tooth replacement option, they still have some drawbacks. The biggest drawback is the partial denture needs to be removed so the surrounding teeth and gums can be properly cleaned.

Another option for teens that need to replace missing teeth is a bonded bridge. Bonded bridges take a porcelain or resin tooth and use it to replace the missing tooth. The tooth is held into place by small wings or resin that is attached to the natural teeth surrounding the bridge.

Bonded bridges are often preferred by teens that are in need of teeth replacement because it does not need to be removed. Teens can quickly and easily clean their teeth without having to remove the dental appliance and then place it back in the mouth.

There is one drawback to a bonded bridge – the need to drill into healthy teeth. In order for your dentist or oral surgeon to place the bonded bridge in the mouth, some of the surrounding teeth will have to be removed. This means healthy teeth need to be damaged which can make them susceptible to infection, cavities, and other problems.

If your teen is interested in exploring dental implants as an option for tooth replacement, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sedaros. Dr. Sedaros will be able to assess your teen’s case and determine if he or she is a good candidate for dental implants. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.