It’s easy to get concerned when you start talking about what to do to help your children, and this extends to any medical issue. Having a bit of a rough-and-tumble mentality is part of being a child, but that doesn’t change the fact that you as a parent need to know what to do when this goes wrong. If your child has a permanent tooth knocked out, there are several options you have. One is dental implants. But is this common solution for an adult still applicable to a child? Let’s take a look at the facts and see how it goes.
How Dental Implants Work
According to Dr. Jason Doublestein at 44WestDental.com, “A dental implant sounds like a very complex medical procedure, but this isn’t the case. In reality, the way it works is rather simple. Each implant is a metal post or frame that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once the implant is set in place, your dentist will be able to put a replacement tooth on it.”
Generally, authorities find two main types of dental implants safe for general use. These are:
- Endosteal implants: An endosteal implant is surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. After this is done, you need to wait for the gum tissue for a follow-up procedure, which connects a post on top of the original implant. This post and the implant itself don’t actually get seen, but what you do see is an artificial tooth that is placed on top of the post. This can either be done on an individual basis or on top of a bridge or denture. This is rare for children, but it is an option should the circumstances require it.
- Subperiosteal implants: This version of a dental implant consists of a metal frame. There’s no insertion into the jawbone, but they are fitted below the gum tissue onto the jawbone. Here, the healing process is what holds things in place, with the frame suddenly being fixed to the jawbone. The final result is that you have an implant with posts pushing through the gums. Similar to an endosteal implant, your dentist will then put an artificial tooth on the post. t
If you wish, you can get dental implants for one tooth, several teeth, or even entire bottom/top rows of teeth. The ideal candidate, at any age will be in good general and oral health. You also need good overall gum health, as well as enough bone in the jaw itself to support the implant. This will be important to mention later when it comes to giving children dental implants.
Your implant will generally consist of three parts: the implant itself, the abutment, and the prosthetic tooth. Basically, the implant is the root that holds things in place, the prosthetic tooth is self-explanatory, and the abutment connects the two parts.
Where They Make Sense For Children
In general, dental implants for children aren’t particularly common, due to the fact that kids are still growing. Because the jawbone is an important component of your implant, whether it’s holding the implant or not, you may need to adjust it as it grows. This may not be a proper financial fit, especially since dental implants are a permanent procedure. This doesn’t mean that they are impossible to use though. The minimum ages are 15 years old for boys and 17 years old for girls. At this point, the jaw is either done growing or won’t grow enough to affect growth.
Sometimes, things may be problematic when you get to younger ages, but there are still options out there. Your first option is a removable partial denture. This can be removed as needed, but will still hide if your child has missing teeth. One or more artificial teeth can be attached.
The second option is probably one that you’ve seen with older people as well as a bridge. You have two options here, a bridge that either has the teeth ground down in order to fix it in place or one that is bonded with resin. The resin-bonded option is nice in that you don’t damage any healthy teeth near the affected area.
The final option is specifically for younger children, who may have to deal with a baby tooth that was knocked out rather than a permanent one. In time, you will have a permanent tooth, but there may be some concern about teeth growing out of alignment when they come in. To fix this issue, a space maintainer basically holds everything in place. Depending on your child’s situation, there are both fixed and removable options.