Minimum Age for Dental Implants

Minimum Age For Dental Implants
For American adults, dental implants are the most popular tooth replacement treatment. But sometimes adolescents and children experience tooth loose through traumatic injuries or a congenital condition. Are dental implants an appropriate tooth replacement treatment option for adolescents and children? Below is more information on the eligibility for dental implant treatment, including the minimum age for patients.

What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a metal post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. Once installed, the implant is designed to act like the root of a new artificial tooth. The implant treatment procedure will occur over a several month period, and requires several dental appointments for the surgery and follow-ups. While they may require a large initial time investment, dental implants offer stability, security, and durability that will last for years.

Qualifications for Dental Implant Treatment
When patients are screened for dental implants, their provider will consider a number of factors. Factors the provider will want to consider usually includes anything that will impact the long-term success of the dental implants, including the patient’s age and oral health, the number and location of missing teeth, the health of the jawbone, and overall health.

Minimum Age for Dental Implants
The age of the patient is a factor that must be considered when determining if a patient is eligible for implant treatment. The reason why the age of the patient matters is because it is important that the patient has reached skeletal maturity, with a fully developed jawbone. If implants are installed before the jawbone is fully developed it will compromise the longevity of the implant. Potential issues with installing dental implants too early include:
* Bite problems
* Gaps between teeth
* Bone loss
* Changes to the appearance of the jaw and mouth
Every child grows at their own rate. It is typical for the growth of the jaw to continue until around the age of 19 or 20. In fact, some patients are in their mid-20’s when skeletal maturity is finally reached. Therefore, it is not recommended that patients under the age of 18 undergo dental implant treatment unless they have reached skeletal maturity.
Alternative Tooth Replacement Options
There are several tooth replacement solutions available for patients who are too young for dental implants. Many dental providers and oral surgeons will recommend children who have tooth loss choose a temporary solution until they are able to get a permanent solution, like a dental implant. Many dentists will work with young patients to develop a treatment plan that works for them. Often this includes custom-designing a temporary dental bridge or a partial removable denture that will temporarily restore the function and appearance of the missing teeth.

Patients who delay getting dental implants until they are in early adulthood will be at a lower risk of dental implant failure and other possible issues in the future. If your child or teenager has recently lost teeth, rest assured knowing there are many tooth replacement options available for them. Have a discussion with your child’s dental provider about which option may be right for them.