Teenagers tend to be self-conscious, so if your teen has lost a tooth due to infection or injury, they may be in a hurry to fill in the gap in their smile. Since dental implants are the best way to replace lost teeth, you may wonder if your adolescent is a candidate for them. In this blog post, we discuss the answer to the question, “Can teenagers get dental implants?”
Teens Are Still Growing
The dental implant process involves a surgery, during which prosthetic tooth roots are inserted into the jawbone. Teenagers are still developing physically. Their jawbone is not fully grown, so placing the implants could lead to problems later on. For example, the bone’s changing shape and firmness could cause the implant to shift and eventually lead to implant failure. The majority of oral surgeons prefer to wait until a patient’s jaw is finished growing before they move forward with the implant treatment.
What Is the Minimum Age for Dental Implants?
There is no set minimum age for dental implants because people grow and develop at different rates. Some older teenagers — between 16 – 18 years old — may be candidates for the procedure. Others may have to wait until their early 20s before they are ready for implants. Generally speaking, girls can get implants earlier than boys because they reach physical maturity earlier. The location at which the implant will be placed can also have a bearing on your teen’s treatment timeline. The upper jaw tends to finish maturing before the lower jaw.
Of course, even if you think your teen is not ready for implants yet, it will not hurt to bring them to a dentist for a consultation. After a thorough examination, the dentist can let you know what sort of preparatory treatments might be necessary prior to the implant surgery.
Tooth Replacement Options for Teens
Even if your teen cannot get a dental implant, that does not mean they need to walk around with a gap in their smile. They may be eligible for a partial denture. A partial denture is removable, easy to clean, and can be replaced by a dental implant later on. Of course, some teens do not want to have to take their denture out to clean it. They might prefer a bonded bridge. The downside to a bridge is that it may require modifications to the nearby teeth. Your dentist can help you and your teen consider the pros and cons of all tooth replacement options before you decide how to move forward.
Most teens are not physically ready for dental implants, but with time and patience, they may eventually qualify for this remarkable form of tooth replacement.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. James Kalina is an experienced dentist who offers multiple forms of tooth replacement, including partial dentures, dental implant restorations, and more. If your teen has a gap in their smile, Dr. Kalina would be happy to examine them and recommend a treatment. To learn more about him and his services, contact our office at 507-625-2021.