My daughter had an accident in her gymnastics class and hit her front tooth. She has had root canals on it to fix it, but they failed. My daughter’s dentist is recommending that she have it extracted, which I’m okay with, but I’m just concerned about what to do after to fill that spot. This is such new territory for us and I don’t want to mess up her smile. What are our options?
Concerned, Santa Fe, NM
Anyone would be concerned in your situation. You didn’t say how old your daughter is, but at any age, a person’s smile can speak volumes. After your daughter’s surgery for the tooth extraction, there are a few options you have for her.
For an adult, a dental implant is often the replacement of choice for a tooth extraction. A dental implant allows a porcelain tooth that is strong, durable, and natural looking, to be placed onto a root form that is directly implanted into the jawbone. The body will keep the jawbone there intact because the minerals there are still needed, as with a natural tooth. Unfortunately, a dental implant isn’t the best option for your daughter because of her age. Her face and jawbone are still growing. As her jaw grows, her natural teeth will move along with the growth. An implant won’t move as the other teeth, which will then lead to misplacement of the natural teeth.
A dental bridge can be a viable option in the right scenario. A bridge is made by putting crowns on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth with a false tooth in the middle. This can be a secure option, but the problem is the surrounding teeth have to be prepared and receive crowns, even if they are healthy teeth, in order for it to be stable.
A dental flipper, which is sometimes called a flipper partial, is a removable temporary tooth. This can be made almost as a retainer with a mold that fits the top of the mouth, or with metal clips that go over the back teeth. This the least expensive option of the three. With this option, the surrounding teeth remain intact if you are hoping to wait for dental implants.
Please don’t be afraid to ask questions of your daughter’s dentist before any work is done. As with any cosmetic dental work, ask about his experience with all the above treatments and make sure you are comfortable with whatever treatment he suggests.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Ryan Perry in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.