06 Feb Why can’t children get dental implants?
Dental implants are the ideal option for patients that have incurred tooth loss from trauma, excessive dental decay, or gum disease. But this option is not available for children until they have reached bone maturity and are no longer growing.
The dental implant process starts with a brief medical history to ascertain that the patient is healthy enough to undergo treatment. A thorough dental exam is performed including dental x-rays to make sure there is sufficient jaw bone to merge with the implant.
A discussion on the importance of keeping the implant area clean to prevent infection and to make sure the patient understands that tobacco use of any kind severely risks the success of the implant process ensues.
The implant itself is a titanium post that is surgically placed in gum tissue where tooth loss has occurred. Titanium is ideal as it allows bone to integrate forming a strong base for the cosmetic restoration it will eventually support.
It is important that the implant remain stable throughout the healing process. This is the key reason why dental implants are inappropriate for children. As the child grows, the jaws grow; this would not allow the implant the stability it needs to bond with bone correctly. The success of the dental implant process hinges on bone integrating with the titanium post. A dental implant becomes a permanent part of the dental anatomy so its proper growth is imperative.
Periodic visits to the dentist during healing have assured that the implant area is progressing correctly. Once healing is completed, the patient is ready to move forward with the next step. The implant has been protected with a temporary covering; it is removed and an abutment is attached to the implant. The restoration will be affixed to this abutment. The dentist has fabricated the restoration to perfectly match surrounding teeth in size, shape, and color.
Dental implants restore tooth loss to as close to biological teeth as is possible. The patient is allowed to eat all the foods they wish; there are no concerns about slippage or movement.
Caring for a dental implant is the same as for natural teeth … brush twice daily with a fluoridated tooth paste, floss daily, and visit the dentist twice each year for cleaning, polishing, and a dental exam.
For more information, contact the office of Dr. Mark E. Massaro at 918-779-3399.