Teenagers sometimes think they’re invincible… but, of course, they’re really not. Teenagers aren’t even immune from tooth loss, though it certainly occurs less often in teens than in adults. Two common causes of teenage tooth loss are sports injuries and automobile and other accidents.
Among adults, one of the most increasingly popular solutions for tooth loss is dental implants from a dentist in Okotoks. What about teens, though? Is getting dental implants near you a good idea for teenagers who’ve suffered tooth loss?
As a general rule, teens can take advantage of the same tooth replacement options as adults can consider. Dental implants, though, are the exception to that general rule. Teenagers should not receive implants while their jaw is still developing. That usually continues to happen until a person is in their mid-twenties. As a child and teen’s jaw develops, that jaw moves down and forward. An implant placed into a jaw won’t move properly as the jaw moves, will soon look out of place and may interfere with the development of the jaw and the alignment of your teen’s other teeth.
The moment will come when the time is right to replace that tooth with an implant, but timing is important. Here are some tips about what you should do with that time while your teen awaits the right moment to get dental implants in Okotoks.
Consider taking steps to avoid bone loss
In a healthy jaw, the cells in the jaw’s bone structure are stimulated to grow by normal day-to-day chewing action. When you or a teen loses a tooth or teeth, some of that stimulation is lost. As a result, a teen may suffer some gradual bone loss in the jaw. The loss of bone density or mass may eventually undermine the integrity of an implant or even mean an implant isn’t feasible. Ask a dentist near you about the extent of any bone loss in your teen’s jaw. Your dentist may recommend options to address the problem, including bone grafting into the site of the missing tooth.
Consider consulting an orthodontist
Because, as we’ve seen, your teen’s jaw continues to grow and develop as he or she grows and matures, you may not be able to count on the “hole” left behind by a missing tooth staying in the spot. Teeth adjacent to a gap have a natural tendency to shift to fill that gap. That tendency itself can interfere with the proper alignment of your teen’s teeth. To reserve a spot for a future implant and to ensure the loss of one tooth doesn’t result in the misalignment of others, ask an orthodontist to review your teen’s jaw. Do they recommend orthodontic treatment to protect the “hole” for an implant, and to preserve your teen’s smile in the interim?
Consider a temporary solution
Implants are a permanent solution for tooth loss. Investigating the possibility of a temporary solution until getting an implant is possible might be a good idea. Not only might it help preserve the alignment of your teen’s other teeth, but it will fill the gap in the meantime. That might be particularly important depending on your teen’s personality and the location of the missing tooth. A partial denture or a Maryland bridge that is bonded to the back of healthy adjacent teeth are two good, temporary solutions for tooth loss until the time is right to receive a dental implant.
It may seem odd to consider a denture or bridge as a teen. Odd as it may seem, ask your dentist if it’s appropriate as you and your teen await the day when the optimum and permanent solution – a dental implant – is appropriate.