Seeing your teenager lose a tooth due to an injury can be a startling and worrisome event. However, when you have a solid understanding of how to deal with an injury like this, you're much better prepared to overcome the shock and take the right steps to help your child recover and restore their smile. Here are a few things that you should know before you find yourself facing a dental emergency like this.
Why Should You Be Worried About Your Teen's Lost Tooth?
The biggest reason to always address a missing tooth is to preserve the structure of the jawbone. When there's no tooth there to stimulate the bone, it slows the new generation of bone cells. This causes bone loss in the jaw, which can be difficult to address, if not impossible. In many cases, it can be treated with a bone graft, but the best approach is to eliminate the risk of bone loss entirely. Putting in even a temporary tooth can help to maintain the contact between the tooth and the jawbone, which will ensure continued stimulation of the bone and preserve that healthy growth cycle that protects the jaw's integrity. This is particularly important for teenagers because the jaw is still growing and shaping, so any damage to the bone can be highly problematic.
Can Your Teen Get A Dental Implant To Replace The Tooth?
You might find yourself thinking that your teen would be better off with an implant to have a permanent fix for that lost tooth. While implants are an ideal solution for lost teeth, they aren't a viable option for teenagers. Since the jaw isn't completely mature and finished growing until early adulthood, your teenager may end up with an implant that's aligned perfectly right now but will then be out of place and look unsightly once the jaw has finished growing. It's best to resolve the problem with a temporary solution for the immediate purposes, and then consider the dental implant when your child's jaw has reached its full maturity stage.
What Options Are There To Fix The Problem Temporarily?
The good news is that there are a couple of different options available to your teen for dealing with a missing tooth. Understanding each of those options is the best place to start to choose a solution. Different cosmetic dentistry procedures can help replace the tooth.
A removable partial denture is one of the most common solutions. It's created much like a full denture, but it anchors on healthy, stable teeth in your teen's mouth. It can, and should, be taken out at night and soaked.
A fixed modified bridge, on the other hand, is a little bit like a traditional dental bridge with only a few exceptions. It uses tabs of a dental bonding material to secure a false tooth to the natural teeth on either side of the lost one. This bonding material will hold the tooth in place without having to permanently modify the healthy teeth. It also serves as a great way to close the gap until your child's jaw is eligible for an implant.
What If Your Child Needs Braces?
If you've been preparing for an orthodontic appointment for your child, you may wonder if you'll need to postpone that due to the lost tooth. You shouldn't have to delay the braces for it. In fact, many times you can have the temporary replacement tooth integrated into the braces when they are applied. Your child's dentist or orthodontist can give you more details about that part.
While you don't ever want to see your child lose a tooth due to an injury or other problem, understanding how to deal with it can make the whole process easier to deal with.