A dental implant is intended to replace the loss of a permanent tooth. With a successful procedure, a titanium appliance is surgically embedded in gum tissue with the bone fusing to the implant to form a secure base for the restoration that will cover it.
Once the implant has been placed, it is important that it remain stable. However, if bone maturity has not been achieved (as in the case of a child), the bone and gum tissue will continue to grow which could cause the implant to shift or loosen.
This could result in the implant’s inability to integrate correctly to provide the solid base needed to support the dental implant. A successful implant will conclude with bone fusing to the implant, a process known as osseointegration. This allows the implant to act similarly to the root of a natural tooth holding the restoration in place. Movement could mean implant failure.
There have been successful dental implant placements with younger patients; however, this is the exception, and in most cases the implant dentist will recommend waiting for bone maturity before entering into this process.
One of the other requirements for placing dental implants is the commitment needed from the patient to keep the implant area clean with daily oral maintenance to prevent infection, the primary cause of implant failure.
As with most adults, aesthetics are important for children and teens as well. In the case of teeth failing to erupt or a traumatic event resulting in tooth loss, other options are available while waiting for bone maturity to be reached.
In the event of premature loss of the primary teeth, a space maintainer may be placed to prevent remaining teeth from drifting into the open space. This keeps the space available for the eventual permanent tooth to erupt. Keeping the teeth in their proper alignment is critical to dental health, not just for their appearance.
A dental malocclusion results when the top teeth do not correspond correctly to the bottom teeth. This can lead to crooked teeth promoting dental decay, grinding and clenching (bruxism), and the potential for broken teeth.
Maintaining regular dental visits will allow your dentist to monitor potential problems and keep you and your child informed of the best ways to maintain excellent oral health.
For additional information about dental implants, contact the office of Dr. Beth Tomlin today.