My son damaged his two front teeth in a fall. I’ve read over and over again that children need to keep the spaces of their teeth preserved so the new, adult teeth can come in without crowding. I don’t want that to happen and am worried that one day he’ll need braces. Yet, when I asked my son’s dentist about getting a dental flipper for the empty space he said that was a ridiculous idea. He didn’t suggest an alternative and I felt too foolish to ask anything else. Is there an alternative? I looked online and all the dental flippers you can purchase online are designed for adults. I don’t know what to do from here.
First, I’m going to say that you deserved to be treated better by your son’s dentist. Your child is very likely the most important thing in your life. You want to do what is best for him but don’t have the knowledge of dentistry your dentist has. If you did, you wouldn’t need a dentist. In my mind, one of the most important jobs of a pediatric dentist, aside from caring for your child’s teeth, is to help the parents understand every treatment option available and why a particular one is recommended. They should never make a parent uncomfortable asking questions.
The Bad News
While his response to you was inappropriate, a dental flipper isn’t a good solution in your son’s case. One of the biggest issues with a dental flipper is it is removable. For a young child, it will not only be a choking hazard, but it will also very likely get lost over and over again. I don’t know many three-year-olds who would keep something like that in their mouth without messing with it.
However, let’s say your particular three-year-old was the ideal toddler. He never took things out of his mouth when he shouldn’t. He never swallowed things he shouldn’t either. You’d still be faced with the fact that his jaw and teeth are in constant flux. You’d have to constantly replace it because his bite has changed. That’s quite an expensive proposition.
The Good News
Here’s where I think I can make you feel better about things, though. While there are certain teeth that need to stay in your son’s mouth until he is around twelve-years-old, his front teeth aren’t among them. It’s his back molars where you’d have to worry about when it comes to things like shifting and crowding. If he were to lose a back molar, your dentist would need to place a space maintainer there to keep the space open.
In your son’s case, he’ll be just fine. You don’t have to worry. Before you know it those big boy front teeth will be coming in and everything will be fine. I will suggest you look into finding a different pediatric dentist, though. One who is more compassionate about the worry parents face regarding their children.
This blog is brought to you by the Akron Dentists at Angel Dental Care.