Most kids aren’t fully aware of their own vulnerabilities. They climb trees and do dangerous skateboarding tricks, and play contact sports without being mindful of the proper precautions. And sometimes, the result is a knocked-out tooth or dental trauma that’s so severe the natural tooth can’t be salvaged. If your teen has an avulsed or knocked-out tooth, a dentist may be able to replant it if your teen gets to the office within an hour. In the meantime, preserve the tooth in the natural socket, in a tooth preservation kit (available from supermarkets), or in a cup of milk. If the natural tooth can’t be saved, your teen may be a good candidate for a dental implant.
Natural teeth have a periodontal ligament that enables them to shift in position within the jawbone. Dental implants lack a periodontal ligament, and so they are completely fixed in place. Because of this, it’s necessary to wait to place a dental implant until the jaw has completely finished its growth and development. A prematurely placed dental implant could inhibit jaw growth and significantly affect the healthy development and positioning of the other teeth. It’s even possible for an implant to become partially submerged within the jaw as the jawbone grows around it.
Because of the potential for these complications, dentists cannot place dental implants unless the teen’s jaw has completed its development. The good news is that this can milestone can be reached while your child is still a teen. Girls tend to reach jawbone maturity at 14 or 15 years of age, while boys tend to reach it at about age 17. These ages aren’t set in stone; each individual teen must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
X-rays can be used to determine if a teen’s jaw has finished its development. If your teen’s jaw is still growing, there are temporary options your dentist may recommend so that your teen doesn’t have to cope with the self-consciousness associated with an incomplete smile. Typically, cosmetic dentists recommend a removable partial denture. It will be held in place by clasps or attachments, and it will look completely natural when your teen smiles.
If your teen is receiving orthodontic treatment or had been expecting to start it soon, the dentist will need to ensure that enough space is left for the dental implants to be placed in the future.
At Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of each of our patients. We understand how important it is to your teen’s self-confidence to have a beautiful (and complete!) smile. If your teen has lost a tooth, call our offices in Rocky Point or Huntington. We’ll get you in right away to see Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot. Your teen will receive a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan. If your teen needs to wait for dental implants, we’ll create a custom-fabricated partial denture for temporary use.
Additional resources about dental implants:
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