Are Dental implants and Adolescents compatible?
When considering a dental implant placement on teenagers, the consensus amongst health care providers has been to postpone placement until the growth of both the face and jaw are complete. Generally speaking, a teenager’s jaw continues to grow until the age of 16 to 18 in girls, and for boys this age increases to 18 to 21- although this can vary in individual cases.
The reason as to why implants should be postponed until the full growth of a teenager’s face and jaw is based on a number of physiological reasons. One of these reasons is quite simply related to the different way that natural teeth and dental implants bond to the surrounding bone.
Natural Teeth Versus Dental Implants. How do they differ?
Natural teeth attach to the surrounding bone via a periodontal ligament (PDL) made-up of collagen fibres that go into the tooth on one side and the bone on the other . Whereas, dental implants attach directly to the bone.
Natural teeth, unlike dental implants, do not attach directly to the bone and have a fascinating living ligament structure made up of tiny fibrils. This living structure, is not only capable of change as the face and jaw grows, but it also allows for teeth movement as teeth react to stress- like the applied force of eating or the case of orthodontic treatment. (Celenza)
As mentioned earlier, dental implants attach directly to the bone. Most dental implants are predominantly made of Titanium, a metal that is bio-compatible and that allows for a phenomenon called osseointegration.
How does the continued growth of the Jaw affect implants?
Growth of the jaw is an utmost concern in the consideration of using implants in adolescents. As the jaw continues to grow, implants that have been fused to the bone, stay in one position- which can give the appearance of embedded teeth, whereas the adjacent (natural) teeth and jawbone continue to grown in “harmony”.
For all the reasons stated above, the best solution thus far is to postpone the replacement of teeth by dental implants until jaw and facial growth has fully matured and developed . It is very difficult to determine with exactitude when a person has finished growing. However, your dentist and/or orthodontist through a number of specialized examinations and x-rays of the skull and jaw, should come to a fairly accurate conclusion on when growth has stopped.
To learn more on this subject you can contact us to discuss any questions may have, or schedule an appointment with our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.