If your child or teenager is missing a tooth, you may be interested in having them get a dental implant. However, dental implants are typically not recommended until the jaw bones have stopped growing. Here's why and what can be done instead.
Periodontal Ligament Compensates for Changes
The periodontal ligament is a membrane that attaches the teeth to the jaw bone. This ligament has tiny fibrils, which are fibers that adhere to the teeth and bone. The fibrils are made of collagen, which allows the fibrils to compensate for changes as the face changes with age and the jaw bone's growth. The periodontal ligament is what causes braces and other orthodontic devices to work. The periodontal ligament absorbs stress from chewing and biting. You can feel the affects of this when you clench down on your teeth when biting.
Dental Implants Are Not Recommended
Dental implants are attached directly into the bone, which means that the periodontal ligament is not involved. What this means is that the placement of a dental implant into the bone will not change as the child's jaw bone grows and the teeth migrate. Essentially, a dental implant in a child will block the ability for the natural teeth to move, which can lead to intense jaw pain and facial disfigurement since the jaw bones help shape the face.
Since dental implants are placed directly into the bone, there is no shock absorbancy, which can feel strange when someone has just one or two dental implants. This feeling can make it difficult to eat and talk, which can affect a child's health and speech. This abnormality in the oral cavity can cause a speech impediment.
Due to these reasons, your teen should wait until their jaw bones are done growing before they can get a dental implant. Or, they can use an alternative method.
Alternative Dental Treatments for Missing Teeth
For younger children, a missing tooth is usually not such a big deal. For a teenager, a missing tooth could be the end of the world in their mind. Since dental implants are not recommended for children, you'll need to find an alternative treatment to replace the missing tooth.
One alternative is a partial denture, which is removable. However, your teen may balk at the idea of wearing a partial denture. Another alternative is to use a dental bridge. A dental bridge securely uses caps over two healthy teeth, one on each side of the missing tooth, with a false tooth in between the cap to fill in the empty space.
For more information, contact Persona Dental or a similar company.