No matter what your age, losing a tooth is never easy. Lost teeth can be especially hard on teenagers, affecting their appearance and their confidence. A teenager's dental health also suffers when they lose a tooth due to the changes that occur in developing mouths, such as shifting teeth. Because of these effects, teenagers should seek to replace missing teeth as soon as possible.
However, although dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth, they are not suitable for teenagers.
The Teenage Jaw Is Still Growing
What makes dental implants so unique when it comes to tooth replacement is the fact that they integrate with the jawbone. The presence of the titanium post in the jaw stimulates the production of new bone growth. This new bone holds the titanium post in place within the jawbone, giving the patient almost as much chewing ability as they once had with the missing natural tooth.
Unfortunately, unlike the jawbones of adults, teenage jawbones are still growing. In fact, the human jawbone continues to grow until about the age of twenty for most people. Because of this, dental implants aren't a good tooth-replacement option for teenagers.
If a dentist were to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, after a few years of jawbone growth, that dental implant would likely be misaligned. Natural teeth move with the jaw's natural development — dental implants do not. This means that a dental implant that looks good at 13 might have shifted badly by the age of 15 and be noticeably misaligned.
A Partial Denture is More Suitable
Since dental implants are not suitable for placement in a growing jaw, a partial denture can serve as a temporary means of tooth replacement until a person's jaw has stopped developing. A dentist or denture clinic can create a denture that looks natural to replace a single tooth for the time being.
And for teenagers worried about how a partial denture might look in their mouth, they should opt for a denture with an acrylic base. This will help the denture to blend in with the rest of their mouth, since the acrylic bases are pink, much like gum tissue. As long as they keep the denture clean and stain-free, teenagers can wear their denture discreetly until they are ready for a dental implant.
Teenagers are still growing. As such, when they lose a tooth, it is often wise to replace that tooth with a partial denture rather than a dental implant.
To learn more about dental implants and dentures, contact a dentist in your area.