What happens if your child loses their adult/permanent tooth? What are the alternatives to replace the tooth? There are 2 main ways a child can lose a permanent tooth – trauma and dental caries. Trauma is often caused by falls or accidents and usually results in the loss of one or more front teeth. Dental caries can affect both front and back teeth.
If your child has crowded teeth, it would be prudent to consult an orthodontist to see if surrounding teeth can be realigned to ‘fill up’ the space that results from a missing tooth. Teeth that are too large or small or the wrong shape can be easily modified through bonding of composites (tooth coloured filling material), porcelain veneers or crowns to make the smile more symmetrical.
If the teeth are already quite evenly spaced then orthodontics may not be useful. A replacement option is better in this case. The current gold standard in replacing a missing tooth is a dental implant. However, this can only be done when your child has stopped growing (usually age 21 for males and 19 for females). In the meantime, your child can wear a removable partial denture or a false tooth can be bonded to the adjacent teeth to temporarily replace the missing tooth or teeth.
Other methods of replacing missing teeth include permanent bridges, which make use of adjacent teeth to carry false teeth. However, this usually involves ‘filing’ down the natural tooth structure of adjacent teeth to create space to place the porcelain and metal of the false teeth and is generally not recommended when an implant can be done instead.
Dr Chin Shou King, Dental Surgeon, Director, T32 Junior Marketing Director
One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor
Camden Medical Centre
Tel: (65) 6733 1388
Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578
This was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine