My son is in high school. You know how it goes. The teasing, self conscious years we all want to forget. Well, he is becoming more and more embarrassed about his teeth. He still has some baby teeth because his permanent teeth never developed properly. The dentist keeps telling us it’s no big deal and that if the baby teeth are well cared for, they will last his entire life. Well, that’s good to know from a functional standpoint, but cosmetically it stinks for him. He’s getting made fun of and the dentist made us feel like he will just get over it eventually. I was wondering if the baby teeth can be removed and replaced with dental implants? My son is 15 years old.
-Layla in Arizona
The dentist is correct that the primary teeth can functionally serve your son into his adult years. But, you have every right to explore your options, if it means giving your teenage son his self esteem back.
Since your current dentist has made himself clear, it may be time to try a consultation with a cosmetic dentist. A cosmetic dentistry practice puts a much higher emphasis on aesthetics in dentistry. They truly understand how a beautiful smile plays into how you look and feel about yourself. He or she will be able to help you explore some cosmetic dentistry options that will address your concerns.
That said, dental implants are not the ideal treatment option for your son at this time. For dental implants, it is best to wait until the jaw is completely developed and done growing. In some cases, that may not be the case until much later into the twenties. Dental implants may be a possibility down the road.
At this time, your son may be a candidate for porcelain veneers. These very thins shells of porcelain are adhered to the surfaces of the teeth. When the porcelain veneers are bonded in place, they can be made to mimic the size and shape of permanent teeth. They will blend in beautifully and naturally with the surrounding teeth and no one will ever know they aren’t the real thing. Since your son isn’t done growing yet, the porcelain veneers may need to be redone in a couple years so they continue to look lifelike. Be sure you ask the cosmetic dentist to see examples of work that are similar to your son’s case.
Best of luck! Hopefully, a cosmetic dentist will enable your son to love his smile once again.