My son lost a tooth prematurely. He’s only three and it’s a front tooth. I’ve been told children’s teeth shift if the spaces are left open. I asked my pediatric dentist to provide him with a dental flipper. Instead, the dentist started shouting. He said it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. No child can sit still for a flipper. I’m not only offended, I’m sure with sedation it could be done. Unless you give me a better reason, I’m going to a different dentist.
Marilyn H. – Michigan
I’m sorry your dentist was rude. That’s not a great way to build trust with patients, especially when you’re talking about their child’s dental health. While I’m sure you could work with sedation, the pediatric dentist is right, a dental flipper is a bad idea. Here’s why.
1. A child’s mouth is constantly growing. The flipper won’t fit for long. You’d have to keep making a new one.
2. It’s a choking hazard. Flippers are removable appliances. Even if he didn’t pull at it, which is highly unlikely, it could just slip out and he’ll partially swallow it.
I have some great news for you, though. The only teeth where you have to worry about shifting are the back teeth. In those cases, we’d place a space maintainer to prevent the shifting. Also, your child’s age means he won’t be self-conscious about the tooth loss. In fact, he might be proud he’s the first among his friends to lose a baby teeth.
You didn’t mention how he lost his tooth. If it was due to trauma, it might be a good idea to have the adult tooth checked for damage. In the unlikely event the adult tooth is damaged, don’t panic. There are plenty of options for his adult tooth. Dentistry has developed tremendously. Even if he completely lost the adult tooth (and again, unlikely, so don’t panic), we now have dental implants that mimic having a natural tooth exactly, even down to the tooth root.
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