Your teenager is missing one or more teeth, but when you visit the dentist for a consultation, they tell you that your teen needs to wait before getting an implant. This can be frustrating news to receive. Your teen is self-conscious about their appearance and just wants an implanted tooth so they can feel like everyone else. However, you must understand that your dentist truly does have your teen's best interests in mind when they recommend they wait to get an implant. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Your teen's jaw is still growing.
The jaw bones and facial bones keep growing until the late teen years. And every teen's bones stop growing at a different time. Your dentist can tell with an X-ray whether the bones are finished growing or not. If they've taken an X-ray and determined that the jaw is still growing, they will recommend against implants. Dental implants need to integrate into the jaw bone, which may not happen properly if the bone is still growing. Even if the implants do anchor themselves properly within the jaw bone, their position may then shift in the coming years as your teen's jaw bone continues to grow. Your teen does not want a dental implant that's out of place; that may look even worse than a missing tooth!
2. Implants placed later have a higher success rate.
Even if your teen's jaw bone is just about done growing, their bone might not be as dense as adult bone yet. This can cause an implant that is placed right now to be less stable. You want the implant to be as anchored in the jaw as a natural tooth, which won't happen until you wait a bit longer for the jaw bone to become dense.
3. Implant surgery can be hard for teens.
Having a dental implant inserted is a surgical procedure. It will be a few weeks after the initial surgery before your child is able to eat normal foods. They will then need to have a second procedure to attach the crown to the implanted tooth root. Kids have big appetites, so sticking to soft food for a few weeks can be tough. Having to take time off from school for surgery can also be challenging. It's often more feasible to wait and perform the surgery in the summer after their senior year of high school or during a semester break at college.
Telling your teen they need to wait for implants can be tough, but it's really the best option overall.