What Will A Dentist Do About A Teenager's Lost Tooth?
When you lose a tooth as an adult, your dentist will generally recommend replacing it with an implant. So it might surprise you when your teenage son or daughter loses a tooth and the dentist does not rush to schedule them for implant surgery. Why isn't an immediate implant the best choice for a teen, and what will the dentist do to remedy the lost tooth? Keep reading to find out.
Teens and Implants
A dental implant is essentially a screw that anchors into your jaw bone. Once the implant is put into place, your jaw bone integrates with it through a process called osseointegration. And once that implant is fused into place, it's difficult to move.
A teen's jaw is still growing and changing, and a dentist will have a hard time predicting exactly how it is going to change in the coming years. If the dentist places an implant now and the jaw grows some more, that implant may end up getting in the way of and pressing on other teeth. This could cause tooth misalignment issues and jaw pain.
What your dentist will do, rather than immediately placing an implant in your teen's mouth, is to recommend a temporary tooth replacement solution to serve your teen until their jaw has stopped growing. Many times, this will be a retainer-like device with a false tooth attached to it. The false tooth will help keep your teen's other teeth from shifting into the dental space, and it will also make the missing tooth less obvious. Your teen will need to wear the retainer daily and remove it twice a day to clean it.
Implants Come Later
Your dentist will keep an eye on your teen's jaw bone development. They may take x-rays once a year in order to detect the time at which the jaw bone stops growing. Every person is different. Some teen's jaws stop growing as early as 15, and others grow into their 20s. When your teen's jaw has been stable for a few months, your dentist will schedule them for surgery with an implant dentist. The implant they get should last them a lifetime as long as it is well cared for.
If your teenage son or daughter has lost a tooth, don't be concerned if your dentist recommends waiting for an implant. This is standard procedure and really is the best option in most cases.