Are Dental Implants Appropriate for Children?

[media-credit id=3 align=”alignleft” width=”300″]prosthodontist-washington-dc-dr-gerald marlin[/media-credit]As a Prosthodontist, I am periodically called upon to render an opinion and then treatment with implants for children. The question arise from parents, are dental implants an appropriate treatment plan for my child?

First of all, it is imperative that no dental implants are placed in children until they have stopped growing (usually not before they turn eighteen). At the appropriate time, we always send the child to have the growth section of the long bones of his or her leg examined to assure that they have indeed stopped growing.

Typically, children are referred for a dental implant evaluation either because they have lost one or more teeth to trauma or because they are congenitally missing teeth. In many instances orthodontic therapy is necessary to establish the proper bite and esthetics, prior to any implants being inserted. In addition, bone grafting prior to implant placement may be required to provide a good bony housing to receive the implant.

Knowing that many teenagers will not want to have a gap in their teeth or smile for several years while waiting until they are old enough for dental implants, parents and teenagers alike as what can be done to replace the tooth until the child is old enough to have a dental implant placed?

As an interim treatment plan, dentists will generally be able to make a denture consisting of just one tooth which can fill in the gap or area where the lost tooth had been.  Then at the appropriate age, once jaw growth for the teenager is completed, the implant dentist or Prosthodontist can make place a dental implant to replace the missing tooth or teeth, and restore a complete and healthy looking smile.

In short, proper timing for the various steps involved with providing implant therapy to children, along with a great deal of patience, is needed. Implants should never be placed until growth is complete in order to ensure an effective and long lasting solution for your child’s smile.

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Are Dental Implants Appropriate for Children?
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