Adolescence can be a trying time of life. The human body undergoes many changes from birth to adulthood. One of the most significant changes is the loss of all of the original teeth in childhood, and the subsequent replacement of those teeth with permanent versions. It is normal for children to lose their so-called baby teeth. However, the loss of a newly grown permanent tooth can be quite a problem. The permanent teeth do not grow back. When a child loses a permanent tooth there are a few things that can be done in order to rectify the situation.
Restore the Natural Tooth
The moment that a child loses a permanent tooth, you must act. If the tooth falls out due to extensive cavities or it is completely demolished it may be beyond saving, but you should still make the attempt. If it was knocked out of its socket but the tooth remains intact, you may be able to save it. Either way, you will need to perform the following actions if you wish to restore a knocked-out tooth.
- Gather up all of the pieces of the tooth that you can find.
- Gently clean the tooth, or tooth fragments, using a slowly running source of water. Do not scrub the tooth or spray it down. Clean it lightly under a gently running tap.
- If the tooth is in one piece, try to place it back inside its socket. If that can't be achieved due to the child's age or other issues such as pain, you can store in it a container of water or milk. Milk is preferred.
- Contact your child's dentist immediately. It is possible that the tooth might be restored. If the dentist can restore the tooth, it should reintegrate with the jawbone and the situation will be resolved after it heals.
The preparatory steps for restoring a tooth are the same for a child as an adult. However, the age of the child can cause problems. Teenagers might be able to withstand the pain better than a small child. Further, the tooth would be best placed in the mouth while going to the dentist. A young child might accidentally swallow the tooth, while an older child may be able to avoid doing that. If you believe that your child is too young to hold the tooth inside their mouth, use the milk or water container approach.
Either way, time is of the essence. You must contact a dentist and receive care as quickly as possible if you are to get your child's tooth restored. Even if the tooth is in multiple fragments, take your child to the dentist with the tooth. There is less chance of it being restored, but there is always a possibility as long as the tooth can be bonded back together.
Prosthetics for Childhood Tooth Loss
One of the most common permanent replacements for a lost tooth that an adult might receive is the endosteal dental implant. This type of implant is a screw-shaped device that has an appearance similar to a real tooth. It would be implanted directly into the jawbone, and it would function exactly like a normal tooth.
Unfortunately, dental implants of this type are not recommended for children. Normal teeth are attached to a periodontal ligament that allows them to move in tandem with the growth of the jawbone. The endosteal implant does not have this option and will cause problems in the structure of the jaw as time passes. Older children may be able to have the endosteal implant procedure performed. A teenage boy will normally need to be at least 17 years old before a dentist will consider implanting an endosteal implant. A teenage girl might be able to receive an implant at age 14 - 15.
The actual age that a dental implant becomes a viable option will vary. The jawbone needs to stop growing before the implant can be installed properly. Instead of dental implants, a slightly younger child may be given a temporary denture to replace their lost tooth until they are old enough for an implant. For more information, contact a local dentist or visit http://www.vfdental.com.