You may wonder why a child would need to have a dental implant. The sad truth is, many do, not only for cosmetic reasons, but for prevention of poor oral health and bone loss from missing teeth. The psychological effects of growing up with missing teeth due to loss through accident or childhood disease can have a profound affect. Most children are not equipped mentally or emotionally to handle the peer pressure and taunting from fellow classmates due to their less than perfect appearance.
It's up to the wise and concerned parent to consider the emotional needs of the child and take them for consultation with a dental professional to obtain information on options to enhance the child's appearance. This should be done without delay in order to prevent any psychological damage.
Dental implants for children, even as young as five, are extremely safe and functional. The implant is made of titanium and other compatible materials and when medically implanted in the gum will fuse, over time, with the existing bone. The implants usually take a very short time to put in place, are not painful and antibiotics are administered afterward to prevent infection. The process can be somewhat time-consuming so this feature must be taken into account in the child's every day life.
It is vitally important after the implants have been embedded, that the child and parent strictly adhere to good oral hygiene such as the use of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, daily flossing and regular dental checkups. Your dental professional will most likely require periodic X-rays to be sure the implants are not hindering normal bone and gum growth.
As far as cost is concerned, many insurance companies see the need for implants in children and are willing to help pay for a good bit of the expense. The parent must always keep in mind that they will want to seek the best possible help for their child. The dental work done at a tender age and the establishment of good dental hygiene, not to speak of the self-esteem benefit from an enhanced appearance, will benefit the child greatly over his or her lifetime.
It has been found; however, the best years for implants to be installed are 15 years of age for girls and 17 for boys. This time frame allows for the bone growth process to almost be at its peak. Implants done any younger than this must be carefully watched by a dental professional, but they should not be ruled out completely. Your dentist will know when and if dental implants are the right choice for your child. He will advise you if they are the best choice versus a temporary retainer or braces.
Trust his or her decision and advice and above all, don't panic. Dental implants in children are more common than you would ever imagine. They are safe, functional and will bring an enhancement, as well as new-found acceptance of self, to both you and your child.
by Abraham Avotina