Minimum Age or Age Restriction for Dental Implants
Dental implants are a great treatment solution which are commonly used to replace damaged or missing teeth. However, many patients are curious to know if they are a valid treatment option for children or adolescents with missing teeth from a traumatic injury or other condition. This article will review age restrictions for receiving dental implants.
Dental implants work by replacing both the missing tooth and root. The new “root” of the prosthetic tooth, which is typically created from a titanium material, firmly secures the replacement tooth in place. Implants also resolve many of the issues commonly associated with traditional dentures. Implants also aid in preventing the existing teeth from moving or resorption of the jaw bone. Some of the additional benefits associated with implants include the following:
- Ability to chew and speak without issues
- No special instructions or removal required for cleaning
- Natural appearance, nearly indiscernible from natural teeth
- Stimulate the jaw bone and prevent bone resorption or change in appearance
- Eliminate the risk of dentures slipping, falling out or becoming lost
While there are many benefits associated with implants, not all patients are good candidates for the procedure, including those who are under 18 years old. Age, however, is not the only factor which is critical in screening potential candidates. Additional factors which should be considered as they can play an important role in the success of the implants include the patient’s oral health, location and number of missing teeth, amount of bone to support the implant, and general health.
Minimum Age for Implants
Prior to a patient being a good candidate for receiving dental implants, they must first reach skeletal maturity or have a fully developed jawbone. In cases where the implants are placed prior to the completion of puberty and the jaw is still growing, it can result in the restorations interfering with the development of the bone. This can ultimately compromise the durability of the implant and result in additional complications or even implant failure. Some of the complications from administering implants at a young age can include the following:
- Aesthetic changes
- Bite issues
- Bone loss
- Gaps between the teeth
While every patient is different, the jaw typically continues to grow until the patient is between 18 and 20. Patients may even be in their 20’s prior to reaching full skeletal maturity. Because of this, patients who are under the age of 18 should not be considered for dental implants unless they have reached skeletal maturity. It is possible for the dentist to complete x-rays and other growth assessments to determine if the patient’s bone development is complete.
Alternative Solutions for Young Patients
Because tooth loss can happen at any age, there are other solutions which may work better for younger patients. In some cases, this means waiting a few years before considering implants as a long-term solution. Solutions which are often used for younger patients who experience tooth loss include a dental bridge or removable denture.
Once the patient is ready and their jaw has finish developing, dental implants can be an excellent situation for replacing missing teeth. Younger patients can be exceptional candidate for implants as they are at a lower risk for developing peri-implantitis, the greatest cause for implant failure. Younger patients also have stronger and healthier bones to successfully anchor the implants. In addition, the patient is able to enjoy the benefits of the implants for many years.