Improving Your Dental Care

Are Dental Implants A Good Option For Treating Partial Or Total Anodontia?

Although rare, some babies develop a genetic condition that causes them to be born missing most or all of their teeth. Called hypodontia, ogliodontia, or anodontia depending on how many teeth are missing, this condition can cause a variety of health problems for sufferers. Getting dental implants can fix this issue, but here are two things you need to know before making an appointment with a cosmetic dentist.

There's a Minimum Age Limit

Dental implants closely mimic the form and function of real teeth, making them an ideal replacement. The implants are secured to the jaw bone via a metal post, which provides strength and stability to the teeth. However, this also means the implant becomes a permanent part of the jaw. Because of this, dentists are typically only willing to install them in people whose facial formation has stabilized.

What this means is that potential patients will typically not be eligible for dental implants until they have finished puberty and stopped growing. Before then, the jaw bone is too unstable, subject to growth spurts and shifts, which could cause any dental implants to move around in problematic ways. There is a real risk the implants could become unusable, requiring the dentist remove and reinstall them, wasting time and money.

Thus, if you want implants, you likely won't be able to get them until late adolescence or early adulthood. On a positive note, you may be eligible to get implant-supported dentures, which provide the stability of dental implants but the flexibility of being able to change them as necessary to keep up with your growth. Discuss this option with a cosmetic dentist to see if it's right for you.

Bone Regrowth May Be Required

As noted previously, dental implants are directly placed into the jaw bone using a metal post. For best results, though, your jaw must be thick and dense enough to support the implant; otherwise, it may be too unstable to use or the bone may break over time.

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for people with partial or total anodontia to suffer bone loss or fail to develop adequate bone mass. Among other things, teeth help stimulate jaw bone growth. When there are no teeth, the body thinks the jaw bone is not needed and will either limit its growth or reduce the mass of bone already there.

This means you may need to work on rebuilding bone mass in your jaw before a dentist can install the implants. The process is fairly straightforward but time consuming, so it may take longer to get your implants than it normally would. Additionally, this will usually add to the cost of your implants, so be prepared to pay more for the procedure.

For more information on how dental implants may benefit you, contact a cosmetic dentist.