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Tooth Replacement for Children Who Lose a Tooth Too Early
Primary teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth. So, if one falls out early, a tooth replacement might be necessary. Replacing the baby tooth will prevent the other teeth from shifting. As a result, the child is less likely to have to undergo orthodontic procedures as a teen or adult. If your child has lost a tooth too early, you have two options for replacement. Look at your choices and then discuss the options with a dentist.
Tooth replacement options
When adults lose permanent teeth, they can get implants, crowns and other restorations. The restorations options are different for children, though. Dentists cannot implant something into the jawline since that would prevent the permanent tooth from erupting. Instead, dentists use fixed space maintainers or removable pediatric partial dentures.
Fixed space maintainers
Dentists can place fixed space maintainers to fill the gap left behind by the missing tooth or teeth. Dentists choose from band-and-loop, lingual holding arch, transpalatal arch, and distal shoe appliance maintainers. Fixed space maintainers are typically used for younger children. The devices cannot be removed, so parents do not have to worry about kids losing them.
Band-and-loop dividers are made of stainless-steel wire. Dentists hold it in place with orthopedic bands. The permanent tooth can erupt while the space maintainer is in place. This option is usually selected to replace molars lost in a single dental arch.
A lingual holding arch replaces lower back teeth. It can be used for both sides of the mouth. A transpalatal arch is fastened in place with wire. It is used to replace upper teeth on both sides of the mouth. A distal shoe appliance can be used to replace the first molar. Just like a band-and-loop device, the permanent tooth can erupt with it in place.
Removable pediatric partial dentures
Pediatric partial dentures are also a tooth replacement option. The prosthesis is customized to fit the child’s mouth. The dentures are usually made with acrylic materials. Some might also include metal to make the appliance stronger. The dentures have artificial teeth attached that resemble natural teeth.
Pediatric dentures look similar to dentures used by adults. However, adult dentures are crafted to be a permanent solution while pediatric dentures only have to last for a few years. The design is simpler than traditional dentures. That makes the prosthetic more affordable to fabricate. That means the dentures are also more affordable for patients.
Removable dentures are often used for older children. Since the dentures can be removed, it is possible to lose the prosthesis. Parents typically wait until children are older and more responsible. These dentures also act as space maintainers to prevent the other teeth from moving.
Choosing a tooth replacement option
If your child has lost a baby tooth too soon, your dentist can help you decide between fixed space maintainers and removable pediatric partial dentures. Fixed space maintainers are often the right choice for younger children, while older kids can get removable dentures. Go over your options with your dentist. Then your dentist can fabricate a tooth replacement appliance for your child.
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