Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
Thousands of American adults receive dental implants every year to help cope with missing teeth. Dental implants are an effective long-term solution to the problem, and with the right care and attention, there's no reason this treatment cannot last for life. As such, when children lose their teeth, parents quite logically want to know if their sons or daughters can have implants. Find out here.
Eligibility for implants
Many people prefer permanent titanium dental implants to removable dentures because implants make it easier to talk and eat normally. What's more, implants can help you avoid some of the embarrassment that can occur if dentures come loose while you're talking or eating. As such, implants can also boost self-confidence.
Nonetheless, dentists cannot recommend dental implants for everyone. Crucially, you must have enough bone in your jaw to support the implants. If you don't have enough bone, a dentist can sometimes graft bone into the area first, but it's important to remember that some adults simply cannot have implants.
For children and adolescents, a dentist is far less likely to recommend or agree to dental implants.
The problem children face
A dentist places a dental implant directly into the bone. This gives the implant strength and stability, but it's important that the affected bone has grown fully. For children and adolescents, this isn't normally the case.
In fact, a boy's jaw will not normally stop developing until he is at least 17 years old. Girls' bodies tend to develop a little faster than their male counterparts, but even girls' jaws continue to grow until they are at least 14 or 15.
Dental implants in a child or teen who is still developing would normally fail. As the jaw continues to grow, the movement could displace or weaken the implant. Worse, the implant could inhibit the development of other healthy teeth, setting the child up for worse dental health problems as he or she grows older.
Of course, like most health issues, there are some exceptions.
Children who can benefit from implants
Some children have serious illnesses or disorders that can inhibit or stop normal tooth development. For example, ectodermal dysplasia is the name that doctors give to a group of genetic disorders that can affect a child's hair, nails, sweat glands, and crucially, teeth.
Ectodermal dysplasias are rare, affecting around 7 in every 10,000 babies. The symptoms of these disorders can vary widely. When it comes to a child's dental health, an ectodermal dysplasia can cause several problems including
What's more, affected children often have a problem with the tooth enamel that means they are more susceptible to decay and more likely to lose their teeth. These children can benefit from dental implants.
In these rare cases, dentists can use implants in different ways. For example, some dentists use mini-implants to stabilize a removable denture or to replace missing front teeth. Studies show that these implants can effectively help children with disorders that seriously inhibit natural tooth development.
Of course, even in these cases, implant failure can happen. What's more, these children need frequent ongoing visits to the dentist to make sure the implant succeeds.
Alternatives to implants for kids
When children and adolescents lose their teeth, the dentist will sometimes recommend that they simply wait until they are old enough for an implant. If the tooth is not visible and does not present a problem with eating and drinking, it's often easier to wait. However, if the child loses one or more front teeth, he or she will often need a solution that can improve his or her facial esthetics.
In most cases, a dentist will recommend a removable denture, even if your son or daughter only has one missing tooth. This solution is relatively inexpensive and needn't interfere with normal activities at school or home. Once the child is old enough, he or she can then consider a permanent implant.
Dental implants help many American adults, but this solution is not normally suitable for children and adolescents. If you're concerned about a missing tooth for your child, talk to your dentist about the options available to you.