How soon can my 15 year old have a Dental Implant placed?

My 15 year old son has a tooth that is gradually getting darker. I wasn’t originally concerned because it didn’t bother him-we’ve even jokingly called it his “zombie tooth” because it looks sort of gray and “dead,” but I thought that it wasn’t possible because he’s so young.  I know he’s really active and tends to be a bit of a daredevil so he may have hit it at some point, but my research online tells me that if it was really a dead tooth, it would be hurting, right? If I take him in to have it looked at and we find out the tooth really is dead, how soon can we have it replaced with a dental implant? Kids can be so cruel, I’d hate for him to have a big gap when he goes back to school.


Laura in Ohio

Dear Laura,

It’s times like this that can make a person stop and wonder, “What would Daryl do?”  Unlike being bitten by a Walker, a tooth’s death doesn’t always hurt.  And while it’s good that you’re gearing up for the zombie tooth apocalypse, you might be getting a little ahead of yourself.

Dead teeth can happen to anyone of any age and they’re quite often caused by trauma, so you’re probably on the right track with your home diagnosis.  However, it’s best to have it confirmed by a professional.  No, not Rick, a dental professional.

To most people it would seem that a dead tooth is a lost cause, but unlike our zombie-virus infected friends, a dead tooth can almost always be saved with a root canal.  There’s no way it can be brought back to life, but it can be restoratively and cosmetically treated so his smile will look as good as new.

It’s highly unlikely he will lose the tooth if you seek treatment soon, though in the event an extraction is needed, most dentists will want to wait to place a traditional dental implant until the jawbone has stopped growing.  For a male, this might not happen until as late as his early 20’s.  Though there are a handful of implant dentists who feel confident in placing a mini dental implant in teens, most have concerns that the implant won’t be esthetically pleasing as the jaw grows and other teeth around it move into their permanent places.

For the time being, don’t fret about how to replace the tooth.  Instead, focus in on getting your son’s exam scheduled and maybe keep an eye on him in case he starts craving brains.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

Related link: Will dental implants work for me?


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