Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Are Dental Implants Suitable For Kids Who Are Missing Permanent Teeth?

Dental implants are commonly used to replace teeth that are permanently missing, but are they always the best option for missing teeth? If you have a child who is missing several permanent teeth, you may wonder if dental implants would be a good option to replace these teeth. Here are three things you should understand about missing teeth in kids and dental implants.

Can kids get dental implants?

A child's jawbone is not fully developed until he or she reaches a certain age. For girls this age is usually around 14 or 15, but boys do not have fully developed jaws until the age of 17 in most cases. A dental implant should never be placed in a person's mouth until the jawbone is fully developed, so you should wait until a cosmetic dentist feels that the child's mouth is ready.

If a dental implant is placed prematurely in a child's mouth, it could end up failing. As the jawbone grows, it could force the implant out of place. It is better to wait to get the implant than to take the risks of getting one and having it fail.

What can you do in the meantime?

If you really want your child's missing teeth replaced with dental implants, there is something a dentist can do in the meantime. The dentist could insert small dental devices known as spacers. There are two main types of spacers dentists use, but they share the same purpose. A spacer is inserted to keep the gap open for this missing tooth. By doing this, the teeth will not shift into this space, and eventually the child can get the implants he or she needs.

A fixed spacer is one that is cemented into place. The other type is a removable spacer. This type is like a retainer the child will wear, and it often contains artificial teeth so the gaps are not completely empty.

Are there other options?

There is another option besides using spacers and waiting to get implants, and this option involves the use of orthodontics. There is a possibility that an orthodontist might be able to close up the gaps where the teeth are missing by using braces. This method does not always work, but there is a chance it will. If it does, your child will never need to get dental implants.

If you would like to learn more about the options regarding missing teeth, talk to a cosmetic dentist such as David Jackson, DDS.