Children at the age of 12 are expected to have lost most of their baby teeth. If you are like most parents, you will watch your child’s missing tooth gap soon replaced by a larger, more grown-up tooth. In some unfortunate cases, the gap remains, and no tooth comes in. This might be due to crowding, impacted teeth or genetically missing teeth.
How to Know if A Tooth is Missing
Some parents notice that their child is missing a tooth when it does not come in. Other parents have some advanced warning when they have their child’s teeth x-rayed in advance at a pediatric dentist or orthodontist appointment. As soon as you discover that your child is missing a tooth, it is important to get a consultation with the orthodontist so you can discuss what options are available (remember Orthodontists see children at the age of 7 to make an initial assessment).
Keeping Baby Teeth in Place
If an x-ray reveals a missing tooth while your child is still young and has their baby teeth, your dentist may opt to simply keep the baby tooth for as long as possible. By leaving the baby tooth to hold the gap, it gives time for other teeth to grow in and for you to discuss the best plan of action to move forward. Sometimes it is in the best interest to remove the baby teeth and let other teeth shift into that spot. Schedule a consultation with an orthodontist so they can assess what option is best for your child’s particular case.
Closing the Gap
If your child has crowded teeth, the missing tooth may make things easier. Instead of worrying about replacing the tooth, an orthodontic specialist can simply use braces to move the other teeth together. In the end, your child will have a flawless smile where it never shows that a tooth is missing, and all teeth have room to sit naturally.
Implants for Tooth Replacement
An implant replaces a missing tooth. A tooth has a root and a crown, therefore the implant will also have a part that replaces both the root and the crown. The root is represented by the implant (that gets attached to the bone), and the crown gets placed on top of the implant portion.
A dental bridge is used to fill the space of a missing tooth by attaching an artificial tooth to the teeth next to the missing space. The name comes because they create a “bridge” between existing teeth by providing a realistic-looking false tooth in the middle. Bridges look completely natural and stay in place just like a real tooth. Bridges are usually reserved for adults that are missing teeth. Sometimes it is even used as a temporary option until the person is ready for an implant. The restorative dentist is the one that makes and places the dental bridge.
Which Option is Best?
When it comes to caring for your child’s health, we all want the best solution! By working with a qualified orthodontist, you can learn more about your options and choose the one that will be best for your child’s needs.
A missing tooth can seem scary, but it really is not! By having the right Orthodontist on your side, you can expect that your child will be able to get a flawless smile that looks completely natural with the right care.