Dental implants are a common treatment for missing teeth. They are appropriate for anyone over the age of eighteen who has lost one or more teeth. Implants are generally not recommended for patients who have not received all their permanent teeth.
How Old Should I Be to Get Dental Implants?
Because tooth loss is usually more significant with older people, implants and other forms of tooth replacement are associated with the elderly. However, an implant can replace any missing tooth regardless of the patient’s age. Most dentists do not recommend implants for those who do not yet have all their permanent teeth due to potential complications resulting from the way teeth move around as permanent teeth emerge.
There are some exceptions to these guidelines. An implant can sometimes be used as an anchor for orthodontic treatment in an adolescent. Implants might also be used in a younger person who is extremely self-conscious about missing teeth. Any use of an implant in a patient who does not have all their permanent teeth should be closely evaluated and monitored by a dental professional.
Why Are Dental Implants Not Appropriate for Younger People?
As baby teeth are lost and permanent teeth arrive, teeth shift and move in the mouth, making room for new and larger teeth that will settle into the proper final position. This is a natural process. The final permanent teeth do not arrive until the late teens, with the wisdom teeth often arriving even later—into the early twenties—and teeth will continue to move until this process is complete.
If a tooth is missing, other teeth will naturally move into the empty space, sometimes leading to misalignment and long term problems. In adults, this problem can be avoided by replacing the missing tooth with an implant. In a younger person, though, an implant impedes the adjustment process because it is permanently secured in the jawbone and does not move. For younger patients, it is important to consider all the possible implications before deciding on a tooth replacement option.