Why Kids Can't Get Dental Implants, And The Alternatives

As an adult with a missing tooth, a dental implant is the best way to replace your tooth. For your child, however, the dental implant would cause more problems than it solves.

Why Implants Aren't For Kids

Your child's jawbone is still growing. The growth of the jawbone affects the arrangement and spacing of the teeth. A dental implant is inserted into the jawbone before it is capped with an appropriate tooth look alike.

If you insert an implant into a jawbone that is still growing, you don't know where the implant will end up when the jawbone is fully grown. The growth of the jawbone may push the implant sideways, and the implant may crowd nearby teeth. Thus, giving your child a dental implant interferes with their natural teeth, which should take priority over artificial teeth.

The Alternatives

The specific age to get a dental implant may vary by person, but it's generally 14 or 15 years for girls and 17 years for boys. The discrepancy is because girls' jaws mature earlier than boys. Before those ages, here are the implant alternatives your child should get when they lose a tooth.


Dentures are teeth replacements that the child can take out and put back in the mouth. The dentist will fashion custom made denture for your child if you decide this is the way to go. There are both full and partial dentures.

Full dentures have a gum-colored base that sits over the gums; full dentures are for replacing all missing teeth in a jaw. Partial dentures, which replace a few missing teeth, have an attached wire that rests over the adjacent teeth.

Space Maintainers

You can also use a space maintainer to replace a lost baby tooth as you wait for the permanent tooth to erupt. A space maintainer is a custom-made device that sits between adjacent teeth to maintain the space left by a lost tooth. Dentists typically fashion space maintainers using acrylic or metal.

The space maintainer can either be removable or permanently fixed in the mouth. Without a space maintainer, the adjacent teeth would lean into the space and lose their alignment or interfere with the eruption of the permanent teeth.


A dental bridge is a prosthetic that the dentist uses to 'bridge' the gap left by one or more missing teeth. The dental bridge is cemented onto adjacent teeth, and then a dental crown covers the prosthetic.

For more information, talk to dental clinics like Gallery Dental.