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Dental Implants: Am I too young?

Dental Implants: Am I too young?

If you have lost one or more of your teeth, dental implants could be suitable for you. A dental implant is a bio-compatible, titanium, root-shaped fixture that is carefully placed in the jawbone and replaces a missing tooth root.  Dental implants integrate with the bone and can be used to support a crown that replaces one or more missing teeth. Implants can also support a fixed bridge or even a denture and are designed for a lifetime of use.

People often feel they’re too old or young to get dental implants. In fact, age is not a crucial factor at all in deciding if implants will be successful in your case. As long as your general health is fair, your facial skeleton has matured fully, and factors relating to jawbone condition are favorable, then a dental implant can be placed. While most people over seventy and eighty years of age are still great candidates for implants, teenagers can many times be advised to wait until the jawbone growth is complete.

Your Chicago implant dentist will evaluate every patient individually.  As growth occurs in spurts during the teenage years, the jawbones tend to grow both in size and height. This growth is often more pronounced in boys as compared to girls. While our natural teeth do not grow once they erupt, they are supported by a connective tissue ligament, which helps them to erupt as the jaw grows, making sure that teeth stay in contact. Dental implants are directly integrated with bone, and don’t have any ligament support, so they cannot change position once placed. The result – an implant that’s placed in an immature, growing jaw will stay in its original position and never move. This could later make the implant supported tooth look shorter as compared to adjacent natural teeth that have shifted with growth.

This doesn’t mean that young adults cannot get implants. Replacement of a missing tooth by having a dentist cut down neighbouring teeth for bridges is harmful so all missing teeth should be replaced by dental implants. Bone growth in adolescents occurs at different paces in different individuals. Your implant dentist will analyze your bone growth and decide the time for implant surgery. Once a tooth is lost, adjacent teeth tend to drift, and the surrounding bone shrinks, making a replacement difficult later. Even if it’s decided to defer implants, a suitable temporary restoration is needed until dental implants can be placed.

Contact the office of Dr. Steven Koos D.D.S., M.D., a Chicago dental implant specialist, to learn more.

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