Dental implants are the perfect method for replacing lost and missing teeth. Implants are strong and stable, and they feel, look and function just like natural teeth.
Generally, any adult healthy enough to undergo routine dental work can get implant surgery. Teens, on the other hand, may have to wait.
Dental Implants and Jaw Development
Implants are placed directly into the jawbone. Integration with the bone is what makes the tooth replacement permanent.
The jawbone must be fully grown before implant surgery can be performed. If the bone hasn’t completely developed, serious problems can arise later.
For example, if the teeth and jaw are still in transition, the implants might not be placed to correctly compensate for future growth. As a result, they could become crooked as the jaw grows, which could stop the natural teeth from growing into the proper position. Implants can also become submerged relative to the other teeth as the jaw finishes growing.
Growth in the jawbone continues well into the teenage years. So many teens may need to hold off on getting implants, at least for a year or two.
What Is the Minimum Age for Getting Dental Implants?
Oral surgeons don’t have a hard-and-fast age rule for implant surgery because every patient is different.
The upper and lower jaw finish growing at different times. And teen guys and girls complete their growth at different ages.
X-rays of growth plates in the wrist can reveal whether jawbone development is complete. Some girls may be ready for implants by the age of 14 or 15. However, guys usually have to wait until at least age 17 to get implant surgery.
Tooth Replacement for Teens Not Ready for Dental Implants
Many teens balk at the idea of walking around with missing teeth, particularly if the gaps are visible when they smile or talk. Fortunately, if dental implants aren’t an option, temporary tooth replacements are available.
A removable partial denture can fill the missing spaces. With this dental appliance, the artificial teeth are attached to a gum-colored plastic base. Clasps or precision attachments hold the denture in place.
Dentures need to be removed for cleaning, so teens often prefer bonded bridges. These replacement teeth are fixed in place with metal or resin “wings” attached to the natural teeth on each side of the gaps.
Is your teen ready for implant surgery? You can learn more by scheduling an appointment with the professional oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation for your teen’s dental implants.