Partial Dentures for Kids
Pediatric Dentist Portland
Dental appliances to replace missing teeth are very uncommon for kids who lose their primary teeth before they ought to. Although rare, there is a demand for partial dentures for kids. More commonly, if permanent incisors are lost early then a partial denture is very important to preserve a child's self-esteem.
Why would kids need partial dentures?
Not surprisingly, kids have a high rate of accidents, many of which involve trauma to their front teeth. Kids hit the dirt almost every day. Between playing tag on the playground and partially tied shoelaces, this is a no brainer – kids fall.
Kids who haven't kept up with proper oral hygiene habits - and let's face it, they aren't great at it - are likely to experience a high rate of cavities. Many times the best way to deal with pervasive and extensive tooth decay in children is to remove the teeth.
There are also several genetic issues that affect the number of teeth a child is likely to have. So there are many issues that can cause children to be missing, or to lose their front teeth.
Should I replace missing front teeth?
This is the default question when it comes to premature primary tooth loss, and why not? It makes sense to wait and forgo the expense of what will amount to a temporary tooth loss. It boils down to a question of desire and parent concern about appearances.
If the permanent tooth is close to coming in, then it makes perfect sense to just wait a little longer and forgo replacing it with a partial denture. If, however, there is a long period of time before the permanent tooth grows in, it is possible to get a partial denture.
More commonly, missing permanent incisors are replaced if there is a long time before a child stops growing. Dental implants can be placed only after your child's face growth stops, about 18-20 years of age. If many years will pass before they stop growing, it is time to consider a tooth replacement to ensure your child doesn't have difficulty with self-esteem. Missing front teeth for a prolonged period of time can make a child self-conscious and reluctant to smile.
What can be done about missing front teeth?
If a child loses their front teeth at a very early age, it will be years before their permanent teeth come in. Luckily, parents are more concerned than the kid when a young child loses the baby teeth. Rarely do missing front teeth cause much space loss so there is not enough room for the adult teeth to come in and kids are able to eat and speak just fine without them also.
This being the case, many parents are very concerned about missing teeth affecting their child's smile and they should be reassured that the teeth can be replaced! A fixed partial denture replacing primary teeth is often called a Groper appliance or a pedo partial or a pedi-partial.
A Groper appliance replaces missing baby front teeth with artificial teeth that look very life-like. The teeth are held in place with a metal bar attached to the upper baby molars. This appliance can also be used to replace missing permanent incisors but a removable partial denture is probably more often used to replace front teeth in older kids.
Here are some photos of a child we treated with a pedo-partial Groper appliance:
Schedule Your Child's Appointment
If your child is missing one or more of their front teeth, call (971) 470-0054, and schedule their appointment today!