Dental implants are effective artificial replacements for missing teeth in the mouth. An implant is generally designed specifically for your mouth, where it is fitted into the jawbone to provide a permanent replacement for a missing tooth.

In most adults, dental implant procedures work well because the jawbone is fully developed and the teeth are permanently in their place. The same cannot always be said for children. Indeed, many children undergoing puberty (or younger) may still have their jawbones developing. This may complicate a dental implant procedure because the jawbone may continue to grow after surgery, interfering with the positioning of neighbouring teeth.

If you're thinking about dental implants for your child, you should speak with a child dentist and consider the following factors so you can make the best decision.

Benefits of dental implants for children

For any dental implant procedure to be successful, the underlying jawbone needs to be healthy and free of infection. The implant also needs to be specifically designed to fit the socket of the missing tooth so that it doesn't interfere with the growth of neighbouring teeth.

For children, a successful dental implant can be particularly beneficial to them. If the child's jawbone is healthy enough, the child can regain a full set of teeth and thus enjoy better self-esteem. In addition, implants provide a permanent solution to a missing tooth, meaning that your child will not have to deal with frequent visits to the dentist.

The jawbone is still growing

The determining factor for children to undergo a successful implant lies in their jawbone. As previously mentioned, the jawbone of most children is still growing and may result in the shifting of dental implants and surrounding teeth if placed prematurely. It is important for your child to be carefully tested for jawbone growth before an implant procedure is done.

Most children in their late teens and approaching their twenties may be ready for successful implants due to the maturity of the jawbone. Younger children may have mixed results with regards to jawbone growth. Some may mature faster, while others take a bit more time.

Implants vs. temporary fixes

In some cases, temporary fixes for missing teeth can be placed in your child's mouth before the jawbone is strong enough to sustain an implant. For example, bridges and dentures can be used to fill in for a missing tooth so your child doesn't have to remain with an incomplete set of teeth before permanent implants are inserted.