As an oral surgeon, I want to share with you a question I often get asked “How old do I need to be to have a dental implant placed?” Well first, let me define what a dental implant is. A dental implant is an artificial root. It’s a foundation for a new artificial tooth to replace the tooth you just lost. The issue with a dental implant, however, is that it is just that an artificial tooth, so it is not a living part of your body. Your body doesn’t recognize it as one of your own and so if you’re still growing or if your face is still growing then the bone and the gum tissue and the other teeth around that dental implant will grow and the dental implant won’t. So, if we place a dental implant too early in your life what will happen is that the dental implant won’t grow with the rest of your teeth and it’ll actually look like it’s sinking into your jawbone or into that area around it. This means we’ve got to remove that dental implant and start all over again.
Ideally, we want to wait till you’re done growing. For most girls, that can be as early as 18 or 19 years old, while for most boys, it can extend out to as much as 19 to 20 years old. A lot of this really depends upon how you grow, when was your last growth phase and the various growth factors that need to be evaluated on an ongoing basis.