When a teenager loses a tooth, especially in the front, it can be really embarrassing. They may lose confidence in themselves and feel down. It can even lead to mental health issues. This is why parents must know what to do when this happens. This article will discuss your dental options.
Causes of Tooth Loss in Teenagers
There are many reasons why a teenager may lose a tooth. It could be due to an accident, gum disease, or poor dental hygiene. If your teenager has gum disease, getting them immediate treatment is essential. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.
Most teenagers lose teeth through accidents or sports injuries. This is why they need to wear mouthguards when playing sports. Mouthguards can help protect their teeth from being knocked out.
Dental Options for Teenagers Who Lose Teeth
The best option for lost teeth is permanent teeth replacement through dental implants. These are porcelain teeth with titanium posts surgically implanted in the jaw bone. The post fuses with the jawbone while healing, making the tooth as permanent as natural teeth. They also look and feel natural.
Unfortunately, teenagers under 18 are not yet qualified to receive dental implants. That’s because their teeth and jawbone are still growing; hence the implant may get misaligned or cause misalignment. You’ll have to wait until your teenager gets older before availing of this option.
In the meantime, your dentist will offer several options. These will depend on the cause of the tooth loss, the location of the tooth, and your budget. Dental options for teenagers who lose teeth include:
- Dental bridges
- Dental crowns
- Space maintainers
A dental bridge is used to replace lost teeth. The bridge comprises two crowns with a false tooth in between. The two crowns are attached to the healthy adjacent teeth, also known as abutment teeth.
This option is best for those who have lost teeth in the back of the mouth. That is where the function is not as important as aesthetics. The dental bridge can cause the surrounding teeth to become weak over time.
The disadvantage of dental bridges is that the healthy teeth on both sides of the gap have to be fitted with crowns. The procedure involves removing a large portion of the enamel of these healthy teeth before putting on the crowns. That is irreversible.
Bonded bridges preserve the adjacent teeth because they do not have to be crowned. Instead, the false tooth is fitted with “wings” connected to the adjacent teeth’s backs. This is less damaging to healthy teeth. However, bonded bridges are not as durable as traditional dental bridges.
Dentures are teeth replacements that are removable. They are made of acrylic, and they look like natural teeth. Dentures can be complete or partial, depending on how many teeth were lost.
Teenagers who wear dentures must be more careful and thorough with their dental hygiene. They must brush and floss twice daily because the dentures can trap food. They must also remove the dentures for careful cleaning at night.
A space maintainer is a device that is used to hold the space open for a permanent tooth that has yet to come in. It is most commonly used for children who have lost baby teeth too early
The space maintainer is a custom-made device that is placed on the adjacent teeth. It consists of a metal wire that is bent to fit the child’s mouth and attached to the adjacent teeth with brackets or bands.
The space maintainer will eventually be removed by the dentist when the permanent tooth comes in. Until then, it is important to brush and floss around the space maintainer daily.
Being a teenager is difficult enough. It is an age fraught with insecurities, peer pressure, and self-doubt. Losing a tooth can add to these feelings of inadequacy. Your teenager may feel embarrassed about smiling or talking to people. They may feel like they don’t fit in with their friends. As a parent, it is important to be supportive and understanding.
You can also talk to your dentist about this. They may be able to recommend a counselor who specializes in helping teenagers with self-esteem issues. It is crucial to have professional counseling to support your child at this difficult time.
Caring for Your Teenager’s Teeth
It is important to take care of your teenager’s teeth, whether they have lost a tooth or not. You should encourage them to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. They should also see the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and check-up.
If your teenager has lost a tooth, you should consult with their dentist to find the best option for them. In the meantime, make sure they brush and floss carefully around the empty space.