Solutions for When Your Child Is Missing an Adult Tooth
Depending on the tooth that is lost, we may recommend a few different options as not all teeth look alike. For example, the lower central incisors are the bottom front teeth. Closing the gap may not be the best option in that case, but it could be an option for a missing premolar. Always consult with your family dentist, Dr. Fornalczyk, to decide which is the best option for the appearance and functionality of your child’s teeth.
Preserve the Baby Tooth
Have you ever come across someone who says one of their teeth is still a baby tooth? They’re usually very proud of it, and they should be! Preserving a baby tooth into adulthood isn’t easy, but sometimes it’s the best option. It allows your child to keep their smiles full until it falls out, and hopefully, by that time, they’ll be old enough to get a permanent replacement.
Your Butler dentist, Dr. Fornalczyk, will consider your child’s occlusion (bite) and teeth alignment. If their bite is off or they have overly crowded teeth, they’ll need orthodontics to fix their smile, and preserving the baby tooth won’t be an option. Likewise, your child won’t be able to keep their baby tooth if the root isn’t intact or if the tooth is unhealthy.
Close the Gap with Orthodontics
Another option is to close the gap with orthodontics. But this is only recommended if your child’s bite is off or if they have overly crowded teeth that would have necessitated the removal of some teeth anyway.
We can also use orthodontics to make space for a replacement tooth, such as a dental implant or bridge, when the patient is old enough.
Replace the Tooth
The tooth replacement options for a child are different from those of an adult. Dental implants are the best tooth-replacement option for adults, but, for children, the only option is a flipper or Maryland bridge. Once a dental implant is surgically placed, it’s permanently fixed in the jawbone. So if you are looking to straighten your child’s teeth in the future, a dental implant won’t work. In addition, your child’s jaw isn’t finished developing until 17 or 18 years old. As such, they are not recommended until 18 years old. The flipper or Maryland bridge holds the space until that time.
A Maryland bridge is similar to a dental bridge for adults. It is a permanent replacement tooth that is held in place by attaching to the teeth next to it. The key difference between an adult bridge and a Maryland dental bridge is the way it’s bonded. They’re connected with thin ceramic wings that are bonded to the backside of the adjacent teeth. This gives your child a full smile and the stability to chew without it feeling loose. It’ll also prevent the other teeth from shifting. Many parents choose this option because it’s cost-effective and doesn’t require any maintenance aside from brushing, flossing, and visiting your Butler dentist, Dr. Fornalczyk, twice a year.
Flipper or Partial Denture
A flipper is a removable retainer that fits on the roof of your child’s mouth or sits on their jaw. It’s a temporary tooth (or teeth) replacement that is similar to an adult’s partial denture. Flippers are affordable, provide a full smile, stability when chewing, and prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting into the site of the missing tooth. To take care of your flipper, be sure to take it out and brush it and your child’s teeth each morning and evening. And, visit Dr. Fornalczyk in Butler, PA!