When a child loses a permanent tooth, parents may be interested in exploring dental implants as a possible restoration. This is understandable, as dental implants offer the most structurally complete tooth replacement, maximizing function, comfort and aesthetics. However, there are age requirements, or more so developmental requirements, for patients to be good candidates for this treatment.
If an implant dentist places a dental implant in a patient’s jaw before the jaw’s development is complete, the implant could move out of the identified location as the jaw continues to grow. Therefore, dental implant placement is contraindicated in children and younger teens whose jaws are still growing.
Children who are too young to have dental implants placed may be able to take steps so that the treatment can still be a feasible option in the future. For example, an implant dentist can collaborate with an orthodontist to preserve a space in the smile where a dental implant can be placed after jaw growth is complete. The patient may also be able to wear a temporary pontic (prosthetic) to restore the smile until dental implant placement can be completed.
Older patients may also worry that their age will rule them out as dental implant candidates, but that is not the case. In adults, the primary consideration for dental implant placement is the quality of bone at the implant site. If enough bone tissue is present to facilitate osseointegration, then the dentist can proceed with implant placement. If not, then the patient will need to undergo a preliminary bone graft to supplement bone tissue at the site. The patient must also have good oral health, with no uncontrolled oral diseases present and be healthy enough overall to tolerate the surgical implant placement procedure.
While there are restrictions on very young patients getting dental implants, there is no upper age limit, as long as the patient has enough bone tissue at the implant site. If you would like more information on dental implants and whether they are suitable in your case, visit our office for an evaluation.