Can I get dental implants at 17?

Whether it’s a knocked-out-tooth from a sports injury or a missing adult tooth that never erupted, children and teens have missing teeth for many different reasons. Although dental implants are a stable, strong and long-lasting tooth replacement option, dentists in Westmount recommend that patients wait until they have stopped growing completely before having implants placed.

Why Wait To Get A Dental Implant?

The proper placement of dental implants requires a fully developed jaw. Each person is different, so there is no set age at which an implant may work for you. Although a 17 or 18-year old patient may be a good candidate, this is not always the case. Your dentist in Westmount will give you a thorough examination and take x-rays to determine if your bone is fully developed. X-rays of the wrist and other bones can often accurately show whether or not a young person still has some growing to do.

Consequences of Placing an Implant Too Early

The jaw can keep growing until the age of 25. Dental implants must fully fuse to the jaw bone, so if your jaw is still growing a dental implant will “sink,” causing the implant and crown to shift lower than the levels of your other teeth. This can not only have an effect on the aesthetics of your smile, it may also affect your bite and lead to other dental problems. The only way to fix this issue is to have your dentist in Westmount remove the implant and place another one. Replacement of an implant may require a bone graft, affect the surrounding gums, result in extra scar tissue, and may place you at a higher risk of implant failure.

Alternatives to Implants

Healthy dentition is essential for the overall well-being of children and teens. Using a custom-made partial denture or space maintainer to temporarily replace missing teeth or hold space is essential to keep other teeth from shifting. A partial can also help maintain proper speech, chewing and eating for adequate nutrition. Although a dental bridge can also be used to replace a missing tooth, it requires taking away some of the tooth structure of adjacent teeth, which will later need to be restored with crowns if the bridge is removed.

If you or your child has a missing tooth or teeth, your dentist in Westmount can help you find solutions that protect and maintain your oral health until the time is right for dental implants.