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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

14-year-old missing 7 adult teeth

02/22/2006

Question:

My daughter is missing 7 adult teeth. (Two are in the front on each side of the front teeth, and the others are the premolars and one more in the lower right quadrant.) She is getting near the end of her time with braces and they have moved the canines forward and have left the baby teeth in for the other spots. My question is what is the next step. I have talked to a dentist and one prosthodontist and have gotten a lot of varying advice. I am thinking of having implants for her and after talking to the prosthodontist, he said she was old enough to have implants. I thought that couldn`t be done until they were at least 18 years of age. What is the earliest a person can have implants?

Answer:

Your daughter's case is difficult, and there truly are a number of options for treatment. It sounds like she is getting very good care with the canines now positioned where her upper lateral incisors would have been. Most authorities recommend that implants be delayed until a child's jaw growth is finished. That varies greatly among children, though girls usually stop growing before boys. Your daughter's orthodontist may be able to determine if her growth is complete by comparing serial x-rays taken during her treatment. If there is doubt, her baby teeth may be able to hold the spaces for later implant placement. It is always a good idea to get a second or even third opinion in complicated cases like this.

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Response by:

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University