Dental implants have become increasingly popular among adults requiring the replacement of teeth that have been lost or surgically extracted. Considerably less is known about the effect of these dental devices on adolescents, young adults who range in age of about 12 to 17, but this is largely due to the lack of research done in this area.
Differing from a removable prosthesis, an implant is designed to literally become part of a person's mouth through the process of osseointegration. This method may not be as easily adapted to adolescents, whose bones are rapidly changing in terms of size and shape.
However, the use of partial or complete dentures in teens who have lost teeth creates other problems. In addition to resistance from the wearers due to comfort and appearance issues, dentures and bridges may increase susceptibility to cavities. This is why some dental experts advocate the early use of implants, provided that the accompanying procedure includes a careful diagnosis and a sound treatment plan.
Research that has been conducted shows promise in the use of implants in young patients suffering from dental deformities, in those who had lost teeth through injury and in those who simply resisted wearing dentures. They are also useful in conjunction with bone grafting. However, implants are generally not successful in children who had yet to reach puberty or, alternatively, in those experiencing rapid growing upon reaching this point in their lives, and in those with teeth that are not properly spaced.
Parents may wonder when they should consider implants for their adolescent children. Those in the dental field generally agree that any such treatment should be postponed until the completion of skeletal growth in the facial area, which is usually around 15 years of age for girls and 18 for boys. The chance of an implant being displaced by excessive growth and needing replacement is at that point relatively low.
Implants can fix dental problems and fix the problems permanently, but they should only be considered after careful thought. Our denture specialists can help parents make that decision if they are considering implants for their adolescent children. Contact us
today for a free consultation.
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