Implanting for Children?
Pediatric Tooth Replacement Options
Tooth replacement needs for children commonly arise from events of physical trauma, irreparable cavities or a fairly common genetic defect that causes a missing pair of teeth, that can include the diagnosis of missing inscisors or missing bicuspids.
Adult Options for Young Jaw Structures
Dental implants are the usual "best treatment option" for replacing missing teeth for adult patients.
As ideal as it can be in terms of providing rock solid dental function and promotion of ideal bone health, it is nonetheless a treatment option that is not particularly successful for children.
The picture presented here effectively shows the unusual events that can occur when a dental implant is placed in a jaw structure that has not yet completed mature development.
A dental implant and restorative crown was successfully placed in this patient at the age of 9 years old. The patient is now 15 years old, representing about 6 years of satisfactory growth of bone structure, gingival tissue and developmental completion of adult tooth structures.
The dental implant, restorative crown and implant site however remained static. Overall bone health and developmental events affecting overall dentition is good.
Because of the obvious disparities of bone density and quantity in the implant area, additional procedures are now required to normalize hard and soft tissue health. More specifically, bone grafting, placement of a custom sized implant and new restoration will be required.
Developmental Events yet to Occur
Because the child is only 15 years old, creative treatments can be recommended that will provide an acceptable cosmetic and functional result as additional developmental events (growth spurts) are expected to occur.
Recommendations for Parents
Tooth replacement options do exist for pediatric patient populations yet are substantially different from what is available for adult patients. Parents can consult with pedodontists or, in situations where treatment needs are unusual, a maxillofacial surgeon - prosthodontist team that specializes in pediatric treatments for specific developmental anomolies that affect jawbone and teeth formation.
Material provided, in part, by Dr. Paul Sussman, Rochester NY.
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