February 22, 2013

Old Enough for a Dental Implant?

What is the minimum age for a dental implant?  

This is especially important for boys and girls who have congenitally missing teeth.  Dental implants should not be placed until after skeletal growth is complete.   Once placed, an implant and the bone which surrounds it do not change, so we don't want the jaws and teeth around the implants to continue to develop.  In general, boys mature skeletally between the ages of 17 and 19, girls between 16 and 18.  

How do you really tell?  

A "carpal index", or wrist film (X-ray), can be taken and evaluated by a radiologist.  The film will tell if the bones of the wrist (especially the adductor sesamoid) are completely formed (ossified), the growth (epiphyseal diaphyseal) centers of the fingers (proximal, middle and distal phalanges) are fused and the growth (epiphyseal diaphyseal) center of the radius is fused.  These factors suggest completion of skeletal growth.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., 
Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics
(661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com
5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309 (map)

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