Ask any dentist, and he or she will tell you that dental implants are the gold standard when it comes to replacing a missing tooth. However, even the best tooth-replacement option comes with challenges, especially if you are a child, teen, or young adult.
All factors should be taken into account before deciding on whether a dental implant or a dental bridge makes the most sense.
Can Teens and Young Adults Get Dental Implants?
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of dental implants for teens and young adults is that a dental implant should never be placed before the jaw has finished growing. If an implant were to be placed before this, it could interfere with healthy bone development, or worse, cause significant complications that lead to long-term damage. Short-term solutions like a removable denture or a fixed dental bridge are the best treatment option for replacing a missing tooth in a child or young teen.
Maximizing Jaw Growth For Teens
When a patient loses a tooth before their jaw finishes growing, it causes a loss to the final critical architecture of the jaw. During a healthy jaw development, the teeth, muscles, tongue, and cheeks all combine to stimulate and regulate jaw growth. When one of these critical components is missing, specific steps may need to be taken to stimulate jaw growth. This process can look different for many patients, and treatment options often include orthodontics or myofunctional therapy to ensure proper stimulation.
Benefits of Dental Implants For Young Adults
It's commonly said that dental implants can last a patient a lifetime, but that can look different to someone in their early 20's compared to someone in their 60's. When a young adult gets a dental implant, the placement of the implant is critical. Additionally, any dental restorations must be appropriately maintained to ensure they last as long as possible. When properly taken care of, it isn't uncommon for dental implants to last for decades without requiring replacement.
Other mentionable benefits of dental implants for young adults include:
- Less risk of developing peri-implantitis, or the most common cause of implant failure
- Less likely to need a bone graft
- A healthier tooth replacement option than a removable denture
- Less damage to surrounding support teeth
- Ability to maintain a healthy diet
Dental Bridges For Teens and Young Adults
Dental bridges are often the best treatment option recommended to teens and young children. A dental bridge is a fixed oral appliance that attaches to the remaining healthy teeth surrounding a gap to create a bridge effect across space where a missing tooth is. In general, the two abutment teeth on opposite sides of a gap are shaved down to accommodate a dental bridge. A cap is then cemented into place over each tooth to create an anchor system with a bridge effect.
Advantages of Dental Bridges
- Bridges are cost-effective. A dental bridge typically costs under $1000 after using dental insurance, which leads to many deciding to proceed with a bridge.
- Treatment is performed quickly. A dental bridge can typically be completed in three weeks or less - even if you need to have a tooth extracted.
- Pre-existing bone defects aren't an issue. If there is a pre-existing bone defect in the jawline, the success rate for an implant is significantly decreased, which is not an issue for dental bridges.
- Bridges are ideal for young patients. The dental implant process requires a fully developed jaw, so in general, a dental implant patient must be at least 17 or 18 years old to be considered a candidate. This reference point has more to do with the jawline's development and less to do with an exact age, so this number may vary.
Schedule a Consultation Appointment To Discuss Your Options
If you are searching for a solution to replacing a missing tooth for your child or teen, contact Elite Dental & Denture PC today to schedule a consultation appointment. We will help you assess the situation and answer any questions you may have about dental implants Vs. dental bridges for your young adult.