Unfortunately, if your child loses a tooth, he or she cannot get an implant until his or her jaw finishes developing. However, there are other options to consider. Take a look at these four ideas:
1. Leave the gap.
If your child has lost a tooth, you can opt to leave the space in his or her mouth. If the missing teeth are baby teeth, you can wait a few years until they grow back. If a six or twelve-year molar is missing, you can leave a gap, as the missing tooth isn't visible anyway.
This is the least expensive option, but it has a few drawbacks. Namely, other teeth may start to grow at odd angles in the absence of the missing tooth, and this can create the need for orthodontic care in the future.
2. Work with an orthodontist.
If your child is missing teeth due dental caries, an accident or for any other reason, you may want to seek help from an orthodontist. They can correct any alignment issues your child has and address their crooked teeth, but they can also preserve the gap left by your child's missing tooth.
That way, no other teeth will grow into that space, and when your child's jaw is done growing, he or she can easily opt for a permanent solution like an implant.
3. Consider partial dentures.
If your child is bothered by the missing tooth—for functional or aesthetic reasons—dentures can help. A partial denture consists of one or more fake teeth attached to a device your child can slip in and out of his or her mouth.
The advantage of dentures is that they are a functional and temporary solution while your child waits for his or her jaw to develop. However, having to remember to take care of a prosthetic device can be hard for some children—for example, children may forget to take dentures out at night, forget them at a friend's house after a sleepover or simply lose them.
4. Investigate bridges.
For kids who are too young for implants, bridges are another option. A bridge is a fake tooth that is held in place with wires cementing it to the surrounding teeth. It's a semi-permanent solution, so you child can have it removed and replaced with an implant later. However, bridges may require filing of nearby teeth, which may not be ideal.
For guidance on what to do whilst you wait for your child to be old enough to get an implant, contact a dentist.