If you are reading this post you are probably one of a small percentage of adults that has a baby tooth without a permanent tooth below. As an adult with a baby tooth, often the tooth is lost between the ages of 20 and 45 and must be replaced with a dental implant.
A baby tooth may become fused to the jaw bone and look submerged compared to the other teeth. Those baby teeth may be difficult to extract if they are fused (ankylosis).
The most common tooth to be missing is the upper front tooth called the lateral incisor. Those teeth are just next to the two big upper front teeth. Dental implants are used very commonly to replace those teeth. Many times, I replace these front baby teeth before the age of 18 because of cosmetic concerns of not having one or both front teeth.
The other common tooth is the lower second bicuspid or “premolar.” This very common missing tooth replaced with dental implants is located in the middle of your bottom teeth. The bicuspid tooth is usually sitting atop of a nerve in your jaw. Extreme care must be used to avoid this nerve during placement of a lower second bicuspid implant. A shorter implant is usually used in this area. A special curve of the nerve referred to as the “mental loop” should also be assessed.
Also, the size of the implant and the size of baby teeth are different. The real bicuspid tooth that should have been there, is smaller than the baby tooth. This makes the dental implant look more like a molar. In the front of the mouth, it is the opposite, so more space is needed to prevent the tooth from looking too small.
Often times, I will extract a baby tooth and replace it with a dental implant, abutment and crown on the same day. Bone grafting may be needed to fill the voids between the two.
If you are missing just one permanent tooth, often times your smile midline will shift to one side or the other making your smile appear crooked. I have my orthodontist work closely with me so that we can get the spacing just right so that the dental implant looks great. Planning is the most important when it comes to replacing baby teeth with dental implants.
In summary, your baby tooth or teeth can be replaced with dental implants. Just make sure that all the details about the treatment plan and diagnosis are made well in advance of starting treatment. This will make for a very smooth process for you.
Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry
Voted Best Dentist in Burbank -2006, 2008, 2010, 2011