Is 16 too young for dental implants?


My 16 year old daughter was in an accident that caused three of her front teeth to get knocked out. We did a quick search for the teeth, but we couldn’t linger in our search because a head injury was suspected. We’re happy to say that she didn’t have a head injury, but we are concerned about the best way to replace her teeth. Teenage years are difficult enough without a problem like this, so I want her to get the best restoration possible for her teeth which as I understand it is dental implants. I have scheduled appointments with three cosmetic dentists to get their opinions and estimates for the cost of the work. We’ve seen one so far, and he recommends a dental bridge, but as I mentioned, I really prefer implants. Is she able to get dental implants at 15? – Jordyn

Jordyn – Although there are no age restrictions for placing dental implants, there are some cosmetic considerations for young patients with jaw growth that is not complete.

Jawbone growth can continue until about age 19. If dental implants are placed while your daughter’s jawbone is still growing, the natural teeth will continue to grow and may surpass the length of the implants. Dental implants are anchored in the jawbone and will not move to match the length of her natural teeth as her jawbone grows. The uneven teeth could detract from her smile.

You received a recommendation of a dental bridge for your daughter. If you truly want dental implants for her, a less expensive and temporary option is a dental flipper. Replacement teeth are embedded in a plastic mold with clasps that hook onto natural teeth. When your daughter’s jawbone growth is complete, dental implants can be placed.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.


Five Things You Should Know Before Whitening Your Own Teeth


Few people would turn down a chance to have whiter teeth. Very few. You finally have the opportunity to get the Hollywood-white smile you’ve always wanted. And it’s way cheaper than you’ve ever dreamed. The prices of do-it-yourself whitening kits make a bright smile more affordable than ever—especially with online coupons and offers for free whitening. But before you bite into the teeth whitening scene, there are five things you should know that can help you improve your smile and avoid damaging it.

1. What’s the cause of those stains?

Why are your teeth stained? Are you a heavy coffee, tea, or wine drinker? Do you smoke frequently? These habits can stain your teeth, and it’s likely that bleaching gel will brighten your smile. But if the cause for the stains in your teeth is medical or due to prescription drugs, bleaching them may have no effect at all. At times, it can make the stains worse.

2. What’s in your whitening gel?

Not all gels are created equal. Professional-strength teeth whitening gel from a dentist contains carbamide peroxide. Some whitening agents that claim to brighten your teeth just don’t do the job. Read the ingredients before you use the gel, and ensure it doesn’t contain anything that will irritate your lips or gums, or that will cause an allergic reaction.

3. Does the gel or kit come with instructions?

How do you use it? How long should the gel stay on your teeth? These are things you should know before you start whitening your teeth. Stronger gels usually don’t need to stay on your teeth overnight. They can make your teeth super sensitive to heat or cold, and the gel can burn your gums.

4. Custom bleaching trays make a difference

One-size-fits-all teeth whitening trays are misleading. Bleaching gel needs to stay in contact with your teeth to whiten your them. But it also needs to stay away from your gums. If the gel oozes out of the trays, ouch! Your gums will burn, baby burn. Ensure the bleaching trays you use are customized to fit your teeth.

5. Be patient

Did you know that you can actually over-bleach your teeth? The teeth whitening process should not go on and on. Follow the instructions. Whiten them for two weeks, or for the period specified in the instructions, and wait for the gel to continue to whiten before you proceed. If you whiten your teeth too much, they can dry out and become discolored.

Whitening your teeth can be done safely and successfully. The best results are supervised by a dentist. Tell your dentist that you’re thinking about getting your teeth whitened. He or she will likely offer some free advice based on the condition of your teeth that can help you consider your options and make a smart choice.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.