When is it the right time to use implants to replace missing teeth in a teenager?
My daughter is 15 years old and is just finishing wearing braces. She is missing two of her upper front teeth which never developed. The orthodontist made space to have them replaced, but now we’re told she has to wait 2 to 3 more years before she can have implants. She desperately wants her teeth replaced. Why can’t implants be done now?
This is an important question and the current wisdom is not to have implants placed until jaw and facial growth are complete. Although it varies from person to person, growth of the jaws in most cases is not complete until late teens. Of course, we are faced with the dilemma of waiting for the optimal time to place implants so that they will succeed on the one hand, and respecting the psychological needs of a teenager missing front teeth on the other.
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Some kids can’t wait to get their braces, seeing them as a sign that their teen years can’t be far behind. Others, though, worry about what they’ll feel or look like.
However your child feels, you probably have some questions and concerns of your own about braces. Here’s the lowdown on kids and braces.
Why Kids Need Braces
Kids can need braces for any number of reasons, including crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth, or a “bad bite” (known as malocclusion). Malocclusion is when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, it’s called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it’s called an underbite.
Sometimes tooth and jaw problems can be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. But often they’re inherited, so if you or someone in your family needed braces, it’s likely that your kids will, too.
What you teach your children about brushing and flossing today may help them avoid complicated dental procedures tomorrow. While good dental health is critical for everyone, regardless of age, instilling healthy habits in kids early may prevent the dread typically associated with climbing into the dentist’s chair. This fear often comes from personal experience with painful and lengthy treatments or seeing friends’ and family members experience similar procedures. By creating a home environment that sets a positive example for your children, you’ll turn dentist visits into stress-free occasions.
Some children with disabilities have challenges that affect their oral health. These challenges may include:
- 1. Children with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, may not have the motor skills needed to use a toothbrush safely or to sit still in a dental chair during dental visits.
- 2. Children with intellectual disabilities may not know how to brush their teeth, protect their teeth from injury, or cooperate with dental office staff while getting oral health care.
- 3. Children with communication disorders, such as delayed speech and language development, may not be able to tell their parents that their mouth hurts or they have a toothache.
- 4. Children who get frequent medical care, such as having many doctor visits or hospital stays, may be afraid of the dental office and may not cooperate during visits.
- 5. Children who take medicines with added sugars or that cause dry mouth are at high risk for tooth decay. Sugar is added to some medicines to make them taste better. Other medicines used to treat cerebral palsy, seizures, and depression can cause dry mouth by lowering the amount of saliva in the mouth. Saliva plays an important role in preventing tooth decay. Medicines given to children with medical diseases or disorders, such as asthma or allergies, can also cause dry mouth.
- 6. Children on special diets may be at high risk for developing tooth decay. Foods that are soft or high in starch (for example, potatoes or corn) stick to children’s teeth and give caries-causing bacteria in the mouth more time to cause tooth decay.
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Beaverton, OR 97006
When To Start Proper Oral Hygiene For Kids
Many parents want to know: At what age should I brush and floss my child’s teeth? A good rule is to start flossing as soon as the child has teeth that are in contact with each other, usually around age two to three years. Once teeth reach this point, food particles can get caught between them and foster the growth of bacteria and the development of plaque. Not all children need to have their teeth flossed at this age, so ask your dentist for advice. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents should be brushing a toddler’s teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush specially designed for toddlers’ small mouths and delicate gums, like the Oral-B® Stages® line of toothbrushes.
While most orthodontic problems are not life threatening, there are some early warning signs that indicate your child might need to see an orthodontist even if they still have the majority of their baby teeth.
These are the top 5 that warrant a visit before the problem becomes worse:
1. A persistent thumb, finger or tongue habit
While thumb sucking may help a child sleep better, by the time they go to Kindergarten, those habits should have been eliminated.
If left untreated, they could cause the teeth to be pushed out too far and the jaws to grow in the wrong direction. Furthermore, speech problems and eating difficulties are quite common in children with these persistent habits.
2. Upper teeth that are behind the lower teeth (also called an under bite)
This is a very severe problem that should be treated at a young age while the child is still growing. The upper jaw, in these cases, is not growing at the same rate as the lower jaw.
Some improvement found over 5-year period but expert says program cuts could hurt.
Only about one-third of U.S. children on Medicaid receives dental care in a single year, and how often these kids see a dentist depends on where they live, a new study finds.
In 2007, the prevalence of visits to the dentist ranged from 12 percent in Nevada to 49 percent in Vermont, but didn’t reach 50 percent in any state or the District of Columbia, the researchers found.
The researchers also compared the 2007 findings with data from five years earlier.
After any orthodontic treatment, whether it be Invisalign or conventional braces, you need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions and keep them straight.
Why wear retainers?
There is a very high likelihood of the movement of teeth after braces are removed or after Invisalign treatment, particularly within the first few months. This is because the gums and bone around your teeth need to readjust and firm up.
Also, as we age, our face matures and our jaws continue to change shape, which may result in tooth movement or crowding of the lower front teeth. Some people even believe the eruption of wisdom teeth can cause the teeth to be “pushed” forward; however, research does not substantiate this theory, as tooth movement can still occur whether you’ve had wisdom teeth removed or not.
Sometimes children are born with supernumerary, or additional, teeth, which is an oral condition called “hyperdontia.” Extreme cases are very rare, and the majority of cases are limited to only a single tooth. The standard number of primary teeth is 20, and the standard number of permanent teeth is 32. The first set of teeth to erupt in a person’s mouth are the primary teeth. Typically these appear by the age of 3, and are shed by the age of 12. Permanent teeth are usually erupted by the age of 21, and take the place of those primary teeth. If a person develops more than 20 primary teeth, or more than 32 permanent teeth, the condition is known as hyperdontia.