Implant Dentistry for Children
Pediatric Tooth Replacement Options
The need for tooth replacement in children can arise from several different events.
Physical trauma and excessive caries are probably the two most common causes for a child's tooth to fail and, supposedly "require" replacement.
Another, not so common, cause is a syndrome of sorts that refers to a missing pair of teeth, usually in the upper jaw. Missing inscisors or missing bicuspids occur with some regularity and is usually congenital in origin.
Adult Treatment Mismatch in Developing Jaws
While dental implants are commonly recommended for ideal tooth replacement in adults... it is a treatment that is not appropriate for a young jaw structure that is still developing.
The adjacent picture accurately demonstrates what happens when a dental implant is used to replace a broken tooth in a 9 year old child.
The odd appearance is caused by an upper jaw that continued to grow and develop while this 9 year old aged 6 more years. The child is now 15 years old with an implant that has remained stationary.
Surprisingly, overall bone health is good. The bone density and quantity in the implant area now requires augmentation for normalizing width and height... and will require a new implant and crown that creates a better match with the overall jaw structure.
Recommendations for Parents
Tooth replacement options do exist for children but are quite different from what is available for adult populations. Parents can consult with pediatric dentists or, in extreme cases where needs are highly unusual, an oral maxillofacial - prosthodontic team that specializes in treating children with specific developmental issues that can affect normal jaw and dentition development.
Material provided, in part, by Dr. Paul Sussman, Rochester NY.