Can Children Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants are fantastic tools for securing oral crowns and bridges. They can extend the life of replacement teeth and preserve the wearer’s jaws and gums. Despite the extensive benefits of dental implants, these devices are not right for everyone. The guide below discusses which children can get dental implants and which ones need alternative tooth replacement options.

How Dental Implants Work

To understand if children can have dental implants, you need to know how dental implants work. A dental implant is a titanium post that secures directly into the jawbone. An abutment attaches to the implant to act as a connecting point between the interior implant and the exterior crown. The custom-made crown sits on top of the abutment and looks/feels like a natural tooth.

Here is a brief overview of the dental implant process:

  1. The dentist will determine if the existing tooth is salvageable for a crown or if the patient needs a dental implant.
  2. The patient can compare the benefits, costs, and durability of crowns, bridges, and other replacement tooth options. This determines if they want a dental implant or a different route altogether.
  3. If there is an existing tooth that needs to come out, the dentist will complete an extraction to make room for the dental implant.
  4. An oral surgeon will install a custom dental implant with a temporary abutment. The gums will need time to heal before the official abutment and crown can be attached.
  5. Your implant dentist will attach the crown to the abutment using a special adhesive, much like a crown going on a natural tooth.

Once the crown’s adhesive has cured, you can brush, floss, and chew as normal. Your dentist will provide aftercare instructions for each step of the process. Now that you understand what dental implants are, we can explain why they aren’t ideal for younger children.

Dental Implants Are Not Ideal for Children under 15

Dental implants are secured to the jawbone. Children’s smiles are still in development, so their jawbones aren’t stationary. Installing a dental implant too young could hinder the final stages of development of your child’s smile.

Most dentists will not recommend dental implants for girls under 15 and boys under 17. Female bones tend to reach full maturity earlier than male bones. Nevertheless, every child is unique. Your dentist will recommend the best approach for your child’s smile.

Alternative Tooth Replacement Options for Children

There is more than one way to replace a missing permanent tooth. A dental implant is usually the best option for replacing a single tooth for an adult but not the best option for children. Some children do well with a partial removable denture to fill the gap in their smile. This creates the appearance of a full smile and allows the jaws to fully develop. That same child may pursue a dental implant and crown in a few years once their smile is locked into place.

The pliability of a child’s smile can work to their advantage. Braces take less time for children than adults because a child’s developing jawbone is more receptive to movement. In many cases, we can adjust a child’s smile with braces to fill in the gap from the missing tooth. This treatment option depends on which tooth is gone and how the other teeth will align after braces.

Spacers are great options for children who need dental implants. The spacer can maintain the gap in the child’s smile until it’s time to install the dental implant. We can also explore the option of a dental bridge, which uses surrounding teeth to support a crown. We try not to do this if an implant is the better option because the bridge will affect potentially healthy teeth around the missing one. Your dentist can weigh out all of the options for you so that you can make an informed decision for your child’s smile.

Get a Personalized Smile Restoration Plan from Clinton Dental Center

Clinton Dental Center offers preventative and restorative dentistry for all age groups. We utilize the most advanced tools and techniques available to deliver premium dentistry at a local dentist office. If your child needs ongoing dental care, our amazing pediatric dentistry staff would love to help! Contact us at (586) 949-5363 to schedule a pediatric dentist appointment.