Posts for tag: missing tooth
There are good reasons, for both health and appearance, to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant or similar restoration as soon as is practical. The bone around a tooth socket diminishes the longer it remains empty, up to 25% the first year. And, of course, your smile is less attractive, especially with a highly visible tooth.
If it’s your teenager, though, you may need to wait on a permanent restoration because their jaws are still developing. An implant placed before completion of jaw development could eventually appear out of alignment with neighboring teeth.
Our biggest concern is protecting bone health at the site of the missing tooth. We can do this and encourage growth by placing bone grafts (processed minerals from another donor) that serve as scaffolds on which surrounding bone can grow. Grafts usually dissolve (resorb) over time, but the rate of resorption can be slowed for a younger patient in need of long-term bone growth.
Planned orthodontic treatment can usually go on as scheduled. The orthodontist may accommodate the tooth loss by adding a temporary tooth within the braces or other device that matches the color and shape of the patient’s natural teeth. The orthodontist will also take care to maintain the empty space for a future implant or other restoration.
A dental implant is considered the best option for a missing tooth, not only for its life-like appearance and durability, but also its ability to encourage bone maintenance. Timing, though, is essential for teenagers. As it grows, the upper jaw will tend to move forward and down. Natural teeth move with this growth; implants, though, are attached differently and won’t move with the jawbone. While the other teeth around them move, the implants can appear to shrink back resulting in an unattractive smile appearance. So waiting until the jaw has finished growing is important.
For most people, jaw growth finishes by age twenty-one for men, women usually faster, but each person is different. The dentist’s expertise and experience, coupled with comparisons of adult family members’ facial appearances, will help determine the right time to undertake a permanent restoration for the best outcome both for health and a permanent, attractive smile.
If you would like more information on treating teenagers with missing teeth, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants for Teenagers.”
How much do you know about dental implants? Test yourself with this quiz.
- Earliest recorded attempts at using dental implants were from
- Medieval England
- The ancient Mayans
- U.S.A. in the 1950s
- Dental implants are called endosseous. What does this mean?
- They fuse with the bone
- They are inside the mouth
- They are not real teeth
- What are most dental implants made of?
- What part of the tooth does an implant replace?
- The implant is the root replacement
- The implant is the root plus the crown
- The implant is the crown
- What is the success rate of dental implants?
- 50 percent or less
- 75 percent
- 95 percent or more
- What could cause an implant to fail?
- Smoking or drug use
- Poor bone quality and quantity at the implant site
- Both of the above
- What is a tooth's emergence profile?
- The implant and crown's shape as it emerges from beneath the gum line
- A measure of the urgency of the tooth replacement
- A measure of the time it takes for you to be able to chew on the new implant
- What are some of the factors that go into the aesthetics of designing the crown?
- Choice of materials
- Color matching
- Both of the above
- b. The concept of dental implants goes back to the Mayan civilization in 600 AD.
- a. The word endosseous (from endo meaning within and osseo meaning bone) refers to the implant's ability to fuse with or integrate with the bone in which it is placed.
- b. Most implants are made of a titanium alloy, a metallic substance that is not rejected by the body and is able to fuse with the bone.
- a. The term “implant” refers to the root replacement, which is anchored in the gum and bone. A crown is put around the implant where it emerges from the gumline.
- c. The majority of studies have shown long term success rates of over 95 percent.
- c. Factors that could cause an implant to fail include general health concerns such as smoking and drug use, osteoporosis, or a compromised immune system; poor bone quality or quantity; and poor maintenance such as lack of proper brushing and flossing.
- a. The emergence profile has a lot to do with the implant's natural appearance. It involves the way the crown, which attaches to the implant, seemingly emerges through the gum tissue like a natural tooth.
- c. Choices such as materials, color, and position can be worked out in the design of a customized temporary crown, which acts as a template or blueprint for a final crown.