My Teenager Is Missing A Tooth – What Now?
There are many reasons for a teenager to have missing teeth. Some teens lose a tooth (or teeth) from playing or being involved in an accident. Teeth may be extracted due to decay, and sometimes teeth are congenitally missing, meaning the teen was born without the tooth or teeth.
When replacing a tooth for a teenager, timing is everything. Dental implants are considered the best option for replacing a missing tooth. As the jaw grows the implant will not move with the jawbone as they are imbedded in the jaw.Permanent restoration of a missing tooth in a teenager needs to wait until the jaw has completely developed. Premature implant placement could cause a misalignment with adjacent teeth. Boys usually have complete jaw growth by the early 20’s and girls by their late teens.
While waiting for the jaw to fully develop, it is important to maintain the bone health at the site of the missing tooth. Bone grafts are used to preserve the integrity of the existing bone and stimulate new bone growth that will allow for a solid foundation when it is time to place the implant.
In the interim, oral appliances can be used to disguise the missing tooth and provide function such as eating and speaking. Removable partial dentures or bonded bridges are typically used.
In some cases, the space where the tooth once was can be closed with existing teeth using orthodontic therapy. Frequently, when there is not enough room in the mouth for alignment of the natural teeth, teeth will be extracted and orthodontics are used to close the gap created. This approach may be an option with a missing tooth as well.
Missing teeth can be a challenge for adolescence, especially socially. Thankfully, with the choices of temporary replacements, orthodontics, & dental implants the teen can have a plan in place to restore his/her smile.
Please contact your dentist to find out what is best for your specific case.
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