Dental Implants & Your Teenager, Timing Is Everything!

Dear Doctor,

My daughter is 15 years old and is just finishing wearing braces. She is missing two of her upper front teeth which never developed. The orthodontist made space to have them replaced, but now we’re told she has to wait 2 to 3 more years before she can have implants. She desperately wants her teeth replaced. Why can’t implants be done now?

Dear Alicia,

This is an important question and the current wisdom is not to have implants placed until jaw and facial growth are complete. Although it varies from person to person, growth of the jaws in most cases is not complete until late teens. Of course, we are faced with the dilemma of waiting for the optimal time to place implants so that they will succeed on the one hand, and respecting the psychological needs of a teenager missing front teeth on the other end.

Well, you may say, that still doesn’t answer the question. The rest of the answer has to do with the difference in the way in which teeth and implants attach to bone in which they are embedded.

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