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What Is The Best Age For Dental Implants?

Missing teeth can be a cause for concern, especially when they affect our smile’s aesthetics. Dental implants have become a popular solution for replacing missing teeth, but determining the ideal age for getting them can be a complex decision. Traditionally, it was believed that dental implants should be placed as soon as growth and development were completed, typically around the age of 16 for females and 18 for males. However, recent studies shed light on the impact of age on long-term aesthetics, revealing that the best age for an implant might be different for each individual.

The Impact of Growth and Development

During adolescence, the jaw bones continue to grow, and teeth may shift slightly. Most posterior teeth tend to drift horizontally toward the front of the mouth over time. This movement can lead to spaces around the posterior implant crowns, though it may not be very noticeable. However, the dynamics are different for upper anterior teeth. These teeth and bones typically drift vertically, down and away from the nose. As a result, an implant crown replacing an upper anterior tooth may appear short and submerged as surrounding teeth and bone drift downwards.

Age Matters

A study revealed that the rate of submersion for anterior implants is significantly higher before the age of 30. The implant crown may appear to submerge almost four times faster before this age. However, after 30, the rate of submersion decreases to a mere 0.27% of its length per year, which is hardly noticeable. Moreover, another study demonstrated that tooth and bone height differences after the age of 30 become negligible due to this slower rate of submersion. 

Consider Jaw Bone Growth

Individuals with long, narrow faces tend to experience more jaw bone growth in their 20s compared to others. Research shows that those with long faces may undergo an average of 5 mm of vertical tooth movement between the ages of 15 and 25. Consequently, if an implant is placed at the age of 18 for someone with this growth pattern, it may end up much shorter than the surrounding teeth by the age of 25.

The Right Age for Implants

While the ideal age for dental implants may vary depending on the individual, it is clear that placing anterior implants at the age of 18 may not yield the most aesthetically pleasing long-term results for everyone. Waiting until the age of 25 or 30 may offer better aesthetic outcomes in the long run for some patients. Nevertheless, it’s essential to consider each person’s unique jaw bone growth patterns and dental development before making a decision. 

Alternative Aesthetic Options 

Fortunately, there are several aesthetic options available for young patients with missing teeth while they wait for the right time to get dental implants. These options include temporary prosthetics, bridges, and removable appliances that can maintain the appearance of a complete smile until a more suitable age for implant placement. 

Conclusion

The best age for dental implants is not a one-size-fits-all answer. While some individuals might benefit from early implant placement, especially in cases of functional or health concerns, others may find that waiting until the age of 25 or 30 offers better long-term aesthetic results. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced dentist who can assess individual jaw bone growth patterns and provide personalised recommendations for the most aesthetically pleasing and functional dental restoration. Remember, a beautiful smile is worth the wait. 

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