Even when we take great care of our teeth, tooth loss can happen. Adults often turn to dental implants to replace the missing tooth. But when it comes to your child, dental implants are not the answer.

Here, Stephen Coates, DDS, shares why dental implants are not the appropriate choice for replacing teeth for kids.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are perfect for adults missing one or more teeth for long-term restorative options. They are set in the jawbone, fusing with a patient’s natural bone. They function as a base for supporting artificial teeth. They are the best option for replacing teeth and offer a natural feel and look.

Why Dental Implants Aren’t the Right Choice for Children

For replacing teeth, dental implants aren’t the best option for kids because they are only appropriate if a patient’s jaw has stopped growing. The jaws of kids and teens haven’t hardened completely, so dental implants can shift as their jaw grows. This shifting can cause crooked teeth, pain, and other complications.

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry recommends waiting until after adolescence to install implants. Girls must be at least fifteen to receive a dental implant, and boys must be seventeen. The varying ages are in place as girls tend to develop earlier than boys. Dr. Coates believes that you should wait until your 20’s since he has seen cases where the jaws continue to grow and the implants end up out of position. Sometimes the only way to fix this problem is to remove the implant, graft bone, wait 6 months, and then place a new implant.

Appropriate Kid-Friendly Restoration Services

While a dental implant is not a viable option for kids, there are other options, including:

  • Fixed and Resin Bonded Dental Bridges – This custom-made tooth, when fixed, bonds to your child’s natural tooth to fill the gap and also has a crown for support. The other option for dental bridges is a resin-bonded bridge.
  • Removal Partial Dentures – The removable partial denture will have one or more artificial teeth attached.
  • Braces – The artificial tooth attached to an orthodontic wire can fill the gap, while braces help to correct their crooked teeth and bite issues.
  • Space Maintainers – When a young child loses a tooth, your dentist can place a removable or fixed space maintainer in its place while waiting for the permanent tooth to grow in.

Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

Even when you take care of your child’s teeth, dental emergencies happen. But broken, cracked, and chipped teeth are more likely when we are not adhering to good oral hygiene habits. It’s essential that they brush and floss their teeth and see their dentist twice each year. Dental sealants and fluoride treatments can help to strengthen and protect their teeth.

Dr. Stephen Coates Can Help Restore Your Child’s Smile

If your child loses a tooth, stay calm. When it happens, schedule an emergency dental appointment to discover your options. Dr. Stephen Coates, DDS, and his team are experts in pediatric dentistry and can help you decide the best choice for your child.

To discuss your child’s oral hygiene and child-friendly restoration services and to schedule your child’s appointment, call 562-434-6414 or reach out to us today!