I need some advice. We have always gone to the same pediatric dentist for all of our children. After our fifth child was born, he retired and sold his practice. I’m having a bit of trouble liking this new guy, but in the meantime, my youngest boy is in need of care. He had a playground accident and lost a front tooth. Our old dentist always told us the importance of keeping their teeth and when it is impossible to do so before their adult teeth are ready to come in to use some type of space maintainer so their other teeth do not shift into the open space and mess up their bite. In reality, we’ve only had to do this once when one of our children kept sneaking in sweets to bed at night. He ended up having a back tooth that couldn’t be saved. Our dentist put a space maintainer there. Because it is a front tooth, I wanted to place something there that would look like a tooth and suggested a dental flipper to our new dentist. He scoffed at me. I mean literally scoffed at me and said that was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. I didn’t know how to respond, so we just left. Now my son has a missing front tooth several years before his adult tooth is likely to come in. I looked online to try to order one online, but it appears all of those are designed for adults. What do I do? I do not want his teeth to shift.
I am very glad you wrote. I can tell right away that you are a caring mother who is diligent about her children’s oral health. That is wonderful! Right off the bat I can tell this new dentist is not a good fit for you. Because of that, I am going to suggest you get a new pediatric dentist. Look for one who is willing to answer all your questions and take them seriously. Your children are ultimately your responsibility and it is important you understand all the recommendations for their care.
I understand your concern about your son’s teeth shifting. The good news is that this is really only an issue when it comes to back teeth, which is likely why your previous dentist brought it up with your child stealing sweeties. Those back molars have to stay in place until your children are around twelves years of age, which is why the space has to be protected. Front teeth are different, so your son’s bite is not at risk. I would just have the tooth fairly give him something to remember and let him be the envy of all the neighborhood toddlers for being the first one in their group to lose a tooth. It’s elementary school street cred.
Even if you wanted to replace the tooth for aesthetic reasons, a dental flipper will not be the right option. These are removable devices, which makes them
a choking hazard for children your child’s age. In all honestly, you a fine just letting the tooth be for now.