Missing teeth aren’t just an aesthetic problem – they’re bad for your kid’s health too.
Besides being unattractive, such a dental issue can lead to further complications and affect your kid’s overall health. This means missing back teeth should also be replaced.
There’s a variety of tooth replacement methods, dental implants being one of the most popular, but the eligibility of every method with individual patients depends on different factors.
Some of them include previous dental history, allergies, current oral health, and age.
Let’s discuss whether it’s safe for your kid to get dental implants and what you should bear in mind when it comes to tooth loss.
Why It’s Important to Replace Missing Teeth
It’s true that losing teeth is something normal when you’re a kid, but such incidents shouldn’t be ignored.
So, if your little one got a tooth knocked out during a basketball match or some innocent roughhousing in the park, you should immediately take them to the dentist. In some cases, the missing tooth can be saved by putting it back into the socket right away, as the bone will reattach to the root. However, it’s crucial to bring the knocked-out tooth to the dentist within an hour of the injury.
The odds for a positive outcome are highest in young children. But in case this doesn’t happen, the worst thing you can do is leave it as is. Here are some reasons why missing teeth are a big no-no:
- They lead to bone loss. Your bone jaw is supported and stimulated by your teeth. When tooth loss happens, the root of the missing tooth isn’t embedded in the jawbone, and that triggers bone loss. Besides, this gap can put the neighboring teeth and gums at risk of decay.
- It’s hard to chew properly. Every tooth has its own role in eating and chewing. This means that when one of them is gone, you’ll have to start eating on the side of your mouth where teeth are unaffected, thus quickly wearing them down and making them more prone to decay and cavities.
- It’s not a pretty sight. Hiding your smile and covering it with your hand can be very unpleasant and embarrassing. If we bear in mind that teeth problems are among the most common motive for teasing and bullying, it’s obvious that your kid’s self-esteem will suffer a huge blow if their smile is gappy.
Now that we’ve addressed these important issues and brought your attention to them, we can move on to exploring what dental implants are and whether they’re safe for your kid.
What Are Dental Implants?
A while ago, a missing tooth was lost for good, and there was no way to fix things and repair the smile.
Luckily, today we have state-of-the-art options that allow us to reconstruct our teeth. Dental implants are a long-lasting solution for missing teeth, and besides their longevity, they also look, feel, and perform like your real, natural teeth. They’re mainly used to replace one or multiple missing teeth, especially when they’re not in a row.
Dental implant surgery usually requires several procedures since it’s first necessary to remove any residual particles of the missing teeth from the socket and clean the area and prepare it for implementing a screw. After that, the screw is placed in your jawbone where it’s supposed to heal, while a custom-made implant is placed atop it.
Your dentist will explain everything to you, but it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date on the latest news from the industry and know what your options are.
Are Dental Implants Safe for Kids?
A quick answer is no.
Although they’re great for adults, dental implants aren’t suitable for kids because their jawbone is still in development. In other words, inserting implants before the jaw is fully developed will hinder its growth and get in the way of the natural placement of teeth in the mouth. It can also bring about the implant ending up in an incorrect position.
The minimum age for kids to have implant surgery is 17 for boys and 15 for girls.
The fact that your kid isn’t a candidate for dental implants isn’t a reason to get upset because they can still have a great smile.
Available restorative dentistry options for kids include:
- Flipper, a removable retainer to which one or more prosthetic teeth are attached
- Temporary fixed partial denture, a solution that keeps the prosthetic teeth fixed so that they don’t come off
- Snap-on smile, a non-invasive, removable cosmetic arch, is convenient and comfortable
- Essix retainer, a temporary solution used when other dentures break. It has to be removed when eating.
Although dental implants aren’t recommended for kids, you still don’t have to worry if your 10-year-old comes back from a play date with a tooth knocked out. Just make sure they arrive at the dentist as soon as possible and opt for one of the available methods that are safe for kids.
About the author
Stephen Jones is a freelance writer and a new father. “Becoming a father for the first time is not easy, but it is so much happiness that complicated things are handled in the best way because the baby is the fruit of love and he brings great satisfaction.” Stephen enjoys writing about health, food, nutrition, and children’s health for other parents. “Freelance writing has always been my passion so I combined the two and hopes to be able to share my passion with others!”