Minimum Age or Age Restriction for Dental Implants
For adults with missing or damaged teeth that need to be replaced, dental implants are the most popular and preferred tooth replacement option. But what about children or adolescents who have missing or damaged permanent teeth? What if they were in an accident and lost their tooth or they were born without one? Can dental implants work for everyone who needs to replace a tooth?
As versatile as dental implants are, there are some limitations on the age of the person receiving the implants. The age of the patient is one of the factors that dentists take into consideration before they perform any type of dental implant procedure. Additional factors include a patient’s overall health, their history of infections, their medical history, their medications, their oral health, their bone density, any medical conditions, the number of missing teeth and the location of the missing teeth. These all contribute to the long term success of the dental implant.
Is there a minimum age for dental implants?
In order to be a candidate for receiving dental implants, the person needs to have reached skeletal maturity. The dental implant is a screw shaped post that is placed into the jaw bone for stability, so the jawbone needs to be fully developed. If the jaw is still maturing and growing, then the implant could cause problems for the future bone development or no longer remain secure in place. Either way, a dental implant in that case would cause more harm than good and could leave the person with lifelong complications. It is very important that the person has finished going through puberty and will not have any more growth spurts.
If the dental implant is placed too soon, then the person could be at risk for developing:
- Bone loss where the implant was placed in the jaw
- Gaps between the remaining teeth
- Problems with bite alignment
- Visible changes to the craniofacial region
Not every person finishes growing at the same age, but it is usually between ages 18-25. Its a reasonable assumption that anyone under the age of 18 is not a suitable candidate for dental implants. Once the person has seemed to stop growing but is still between the ages of 18-25, the dentist can complete x-rays to review the growth plates for the jaw bone. There are additional assessments the dentist can complete before making a final decision on the person’s eligibility for dental implants. With the combination of x-rays and assessments, there can be 100% certainty of the person’s stage in puberty and growing.
Interim solutions for younger patients
There are plenty of problems that come along with losing a permanent tooth, so it is understandable people are interested in getting their dental implants as soon as possible. In fact, if you do have the option to get a dental implant at a younger age, you should move forward then as your body will heal faster and you will enjoy the benefits longer. If you need to wait to receive your dental implant, the dentist may have a number of options for you to use in the meantime. You may use a dental bridge or a removable partial denture custom made to look like your natural teeth.