How do you replace a child’s lost tooth? Typically, you wait for its permanent replacement to grow in; however, if a primary (baby) tooth is lost before its time, then temporarily replacing it may be vital to a child’s developing dental health. For missing adult teeth, dental implants are often the ideal replacement option, but they’re not temporary and they may cause more damage than good to developing jawbones in young children. Today, we explore premature primary tooth loss, and why dental implants are best reserved for older teen and adult patients.
When Baby Teeth Go Missing Too Early
Since a child’s first teeth are meant to fall out at some point anyway, losing one a little early may not seem like a concern. In a sense, baby teeth are just practice for a child’s mouth to learn how to bite, chew, and enunciate words, and for the child to grow accustomed to a lifetime of daily and professional dental care. Primary teeth are also placeholders and guides for the permanent teeth that will follow. If a baby tooth is lost early, either to dental disease or an accident, then proper jaw and teeth growth can be affected and lead to significant oral health problems in the future.
Why Dental Implants Are Best for Adults
The jawbone and surrounding oral structures continue growing until the late teens, typically long after the last baby tooth has fallen out. Dental implants, which are surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace lost teeth roots, are lauded for their ability to preserve jawbone integrity by providing stimulation and facilitating a healthy blood flow. If placed before the jawbone fully forms, the implant may prove more of an obstruction than a benefit, and can impede jawbone growth and permanent teeth trying to erupt at a proper angle.
If your child loses a tooth too early, then Dr. Stewart will consult with you to determine the best course of action for ensuring that your child’s teeth and jawbone continue developing correctly.