Losing a tooth is, for better or for worse, part of the circle of life. As a kid, you may remember your baby teeth falling out to make way for your permanent teeth. On the other end of the life cycle is aging, when the bones weaken and tooth loss can occur as a result. It’s safe to say, tooth loss can occur at any age.
The upside is, no one should have to live with the gaps left by missing teeth, and their effects on the ability to eat, talk, smile, and more. Even as permanent teeth don’t grow back when lost, there are a lot of tooth replacement options available. The question then becomes, which option is best for you?
Today, there’s no doubt that dental implants are one of the best tooth replacement options. But are they right for everyone suffering from missing teeth, at any age? For adult-aged individuals, getting dental implants over other restorations, such as dentures and bridges seem like a no-brainer. But are dental implants right for young people as well?
Let’s find out. In this article, our periodontists in Mississauga examine whether dental implants are for all ages—and whether there’s such a thing as too young to receive implants.
How Tooth Loss Can Happen at Any Age
When replacing missing teeth, there are a lot of factors that periodontists in Mississauga consider. Age is one of them. The reality is, tooth loss can occur at any age—young people aren’t immune to losing one or several teeth.
For example, a teenager might knock out their now-grown permanent front teeth while playing contact sports. Similarly, a twelve year-old with some but not all of their permanent teeth might lose a tooth to cavities and tooth decay. Lastly, a twenty-one year-old might be in an accident that causes blunt force trauma to their mouth, knocking out a couple of permanent teeth.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why children and teenagers lose a permanent tooth:
- Sports injuries, such as accidental impacts from hockey, football, rugby, and other sports, particularly when proper protective gear wasn’t worn
- Accidents, including car accidents, trip and falls, and other sudden impacts to the teeth or jaws
- Poor oral hygiene and care habits, such as infrequent and improper brushing and flossing, and lack of regular visits to the dentist for cleanings. These can result in cavities, tooth decay, gum recession, and gum disease, all eventually leading to tooth loss
- Other medical conditions and health issues, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension, among others, which affect the strength of the jawbone and its ability to support the teeth.
Clearly, there are many scenarios that lead to tooth loss in younger people. Tooth loss doesn’t just happen with aging. And right here is the dilemma that many parents face: what’s the best tooth replacement option for a teenager or young adult?
Age is Just a Number: Can You be Too Young for Dental Implants?
In older adults, tooth loss can turn out to be easier to treat. As long as the jawbone is still strong enough or a person can receive a bone graft to reinforce the bone density, dental implants are possible, and missing teeth can be easily replaced in Mississauga.
But it’s not so clear-cut for younger people. The determining factor is jawbone development. While the jawbone of an older adult is already fully developed, it’s still developing in teenagers, young adults, and especially children. Simply, the jaw needs to be fully developed to guarantee a strong structure that can support dental implants. If the jaw is still developing and implants are placed anyway, the risk of implant failure is high.
Typical Age for Dental Implants in Mississauga
Periodontists note that there is no set age that makes certain people a good candidate for dental implants. However, we can determine the best possible age for someone to get implants based on the development of the jawbone. Wrist imaging is used to determine developmental and growth cessation.
The periods of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood are very crucial not only to jawbone development, but overall physical health. Typically, the bones, including the teeth, continue to develop well into a person’s early 20’s. If you’re around this age, your periodontist can take x-rays to see if bone development is complete. If it is, your periodontist can recommend you for dental implants.
But, Absolutely No Children
As mentioned above, jawbone development, not age, is the main factor that determines if a young person is ready for dental implants. But even then, periodontists agree on certain developmental markers that come at a set age, which provides a baseline for being “too young” for dental implants.
Generally, if a patient is under the age of 18, they are not eligible for dental implants in Mississauga. Individuals who are under 18 have many developmental milestones ahead of them, especially concerning the teeth, gums, and jawbone. In addition, those under 18 are still getting their permanent teeth in, meaning that the arrangement and spacing of their teeth are still shifting.
So, what’s the best option for children and teenagers who lost a permanent tooth? Periodontists in Mississauga may recommend a temporary or less invasive tooth replacement method, such as a denture or dental bridge. Then, upon reaching adulthood and completing jawbone development, a periodontist can place dental implants to permanently replace missing teeth.
Talk to Our Periodontists About Dental Implants for Young People
At Periodontal Associates, we support the tooth replacement and long-term periodontal care needs of individuals of all ages. Our team of highly trained and experienced periodontists in Mississauga have witnessed tooth loss happening at every age, providing us with a unique and expertly backed perspective on tooth replacement.
Through our training and experience, our periodontists in Mississauga are well-equipped to design a personalized, age-appropriate treatment plan for your child. Beginning with urgently needed temporary teeth replacements, to permanent replacement with dental implants, our periodontists are dedicated to ensuring the safety, long-term oral health, and quality of life of young people. Our goal is proper and effective treatment to ensure the success of dental implants when the time is right.
Does your child have a missing tooth? Talk to our periodontists today to learn when they are eligible for dental implants in Mississauga.