Although children rarely lose teeth as a result of disease or decay, it is not uncommon for a child to lose a permanent tooth through injury. As parents, we do our best to protect our kids, but there will always be some rough and tumble when a child is growing up, and, in some unfortunate cases, this can result in a tooth getting knocked out.
For adults, dental implants are the best way to replace missing teeth, but are they suitable for children too?
In most cases, dental implants can’t be fitted for boys under 17 and girls under 15. This is because the jawbone will still be growing – if an implant is fitted before growth has finished, this could disrupt the natural positioning of a child’s teeth, and even distort their facial structure.
Occasionally, however, the drawbacks of not fitting a dental implant can outweigh the risks, which might include bone loss and drifting of adjacent teeth
Dental implants have been successfully used for children as young as 7 suffering from ectodermal dysplasia (a genetic disorder that affects the growth of skin, teeth, hair and other structures).
Ultimately, implant surgeons need to make a judgement for each patient, but, in the majority of cases, dental implants won’t be a viable option for young children.
Dentures can be used as a temporary solution, then, once the jaw has finished growing, missing teeth can be replaced with permanent implants.