Not everyone gets to enjoy a mouth full of 32 healthy, permanent adult teeth. Some children don’t have adult teeth waiting behind baby teeth, while others might have accidents and lose adult teeth early in life.
Although missing a permanent tooth can be distressing, remedies and long-term solutions are available.
Here’s what you and your child or teen need to do in this situation.
Discuss the Future for a Child with Hypodontia
If a dentist tells you that your child is congenitally missing adult teeth (hypodontia), this means no adult teeth are present to take the place of lost baby teeth. Hypodontia is a common developmental anomaly that stems from genetics. In general, hypodontia will not affect your child until he or she eventually loses the baby teeth. With no adult teeth pushing on the baby teeth, this can take decades. By the time your child loses the baby teeth, he or she will have several options to fill the gaps.
Consider Immediate Solutions for a Child with a Missing Tooth
If your child or teen loses a permanent tooth due to trauma, the age and developmental stage of your child may limit his or her immediate dental options. Oral surgeons cannot provide implants or traditional bridges until the patient has ended the growth phase, or else the implants would not fit correctly in the child’s mouth. Instead of permanent options, consider something like a removable bridge. A removable bridge is a type of denture that can stabilize your child’s bite and have cosmetic appeal.
Plan for a Dental Implant Down the Road
Once your child does reach the end of his/her adolescent growth phase, discuss more permanent solutions. One of the most popular solutions is a dental implant. Implants are permanent fixtures with considerable strength and durability. They match the rest of your child’s teeth exactly, making it impossible for others to tell that it’s not a real tooth. Your oral surgeon will determine when your child is ready for a dental implant, usually in their late teenage years.
Review Your Other Options
A dental implant isn’t your child’s only choice for replacing a lost permanent tooth. You might also consider a traditional bridge. Unlike a temporary bridge, a traditional bridge remains permanently in the mouth. It adheres to the teeth on either side of the gap, rather than attaching to the bone like a dental implant. A composite bridge is somewhere between a temporary and traditional bridge and can be removed later. Discuss all your child’s options during an appointment at OMSNashville.