Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option. They are most like your natural teeth in form, appearance, and function. However, if you are a child, teen, or young adult, there are challenges to getting dental implants. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not worth it to get implants, but we do have to take all factors into account and proceed carefully to make sure you get the best results. An interview with an implant doctor who focuses on young adults highlights these challenges.
You Can’t Get Dental Implants before Your Jaw Finishes Growing
One of the biggest challenges of dental implants for teens and children is that we can’t place a dental implant until your jaw has finished growing. The potential that it could interfere with normal bone development or, worse, cause significant complications is just not worth it.
So you may not be able to get dental implants right away when you lose your teeth. You may need to have intermediate or short-term solutions like removable dentures or fixed dental bridges while your jaw finishes growing.
We Have to Maximize Jaw Growth
One of the big challenges of having lost teeth before your jaw finishes growing is that you’ve last a critical part of the jaw architecture that controls growth. During normal development, your teeth, muscles, tongue, and cheeks all work together through proper function to stimulate and regulate jaw growth. When one of these critical components is missing, we need to take other steps to stimulate jaw growth.
In the past, orthodontics have been used for this, but myofunctional therapy may also be able to play an important role, using exercises of the remaining components to make sure your jaws are getting the necessary stimulation to ensure proper development to make your jaw is ready for implants.
Your Implants Have to Be Done Right
Dental implants are known for being able to last a lifetime. However, what that means is a lot different for someone in their 20s compared to someone in their 60s. When young adults get dental implants, those implants have to be placed properly, with healthy restorations, and maintained properly to ensure they last a full lifetime. We know that implants can last 50 years, and we have no reason to believe they can’t last 80 years or more, although restorations may have to be replaced multiple times. It is a challenge we have to be aware of.
In addition, young people who don’t have teeth due to genetic conditions may also have thinner gums that can be harder to manage. We have to approach this with caution to make sure you get quality results.
Benefits of Getting Dental Implants When Young
However, there are many benefits of getting dental implants as a young adult, too. First of all, because young adults often have healthier mouths with less gum disease, the risk of peri-implantitis, the most common cause of dental implant failure, is much less. Good bone density and healthy bones can sometimes mean you don’t need a bone graft, although if you’ve been without your natural teeth for a while, you might.
And, of course, we have to highlight that dental implants are a much healthier tooth replacement option than a removable denture. And the health benefits magnify over time. Partial dentures can damage the teeth that support them and reduce one’s ability to eat a varied, healthy diet. The sooner you switch to implants from a removable denture, the better your results.
Are You Looking for Dental Implants in Fairfax County?
If you have lost one or more teeth in Fairfax County, we can help you replace your teeth. We help patients maintain good oral health, beautiful smiles, and functional bites.