One can lose their teeth at any age, including when you’re young. If your little one is experiencing such a thing now, don’t worry. Many American children lose their teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, ectodermal dysplasia (a genetic disorder affecting teeth), or gastrointestinal reflux (extreme tooth erosion, which leads to stomach acid coming into the mouth).
So, once babies prematurely lose their teeth, can they get dentures? Yes, they can. If your little one has lost a baby tooth prematurely, go to your dentist to help you find options that benefit your child’s oral health.
Read on to learn more about pediatric dentures, including pedi partial or pediatric partial dentures.
Reasons Your Child May Need Dentures
Once a child loses several of their teeth, getting partial dentures is an excellent option.
A partial denture is a removable appliance made of plastic or metal that’s fitted with teeth. Dentists use it to replace one or several teeth at the front part of the mouth. The plastic part resembles the gum in a natural tooth setting.
Your child may be in great need of a partial denture to restore their ability to chew. And if your child has lost multiple teeth in the same arch, a partial denture would be ideal for them. In fact, most kids with ectodermal dysplasia live with partial dentures right from a young age.
Some people believe that primary teeth add no value. However, you should note that they act in place of the permanent ones. You see, if a child loses their primary tooth prematurely, the remaining teeth try to cover this space by shifting out of their correct positions. If this happens, you can imagine the complications this can bring to your child once the permanent teeth erupt.
Some of the benefits that children can derive from partial dentures include:
- Improvements in aesthetics: Retaining a facial expression that matches the child’s age.
- It improves the child’s overall social well-being and self-esteem: A beautiful smile makes a child more confident.
- Supports tissue and jaw development
- It’s key in improving speech development: Remember, teeth play a vital role in pronunciation, explaining why the presence of all teeth means a lot to the child’s ability to communicate thoughts and ideas.
- It leads to improved chewing function, subsequently improving the child’s nutrition.
Tooth Replacement Options for Children
At what age can you get dentures? When a child loses their teeth early, it’s unfortunately not as easy as it is for adults. Teeth restoration options are different and limited for babies.
Fixed Space Maintainers
Fixed space maintainers are great for younger children. Dentists use them to fill the gap that the missing tooth or teeth leave behind. A dentist can choose to use any of the following maintainers:
- Lingual holding arch: This fixed space maintainer is used to replace the lower back teeth. A child can use it for either side of the mouth.
- Band-and-loop dividers: These are made using stainless steel wire. Dentists use orthopedic bands to hold the maintainer in place. The great news is that the permanent tooth can erupt with the device still in place. If your child has lost molars in one dental arch, this is a good replacement option.
- Distal shoe appliance: This one is similar to the band-and-loop device in that it allows the permanent tooth to come in while it’s still in place. It’s commonly used to replace the first molar.
- Transpalatal arch maintainers: It replaces upper teeth on either side of the mouth. Dentists use a wire to fasten it in place.
Since the devices are irremovable, a parent need not worry about their child losing them while playing.
Removable Pediatric Partial Dentures
These are dentures usually made of acrylic materials. They’re also a suitable teeth replacement option. To make them stronger, some also feature some metal.
Pediatric partial dentures contain an attachment of artificial teeth that look no different from natural teeth. Although they look very much like adult dentures, pediatric dentures are not permanent. They’re designed to remain in the child’s mouth for only a few years.
Unlike traditional dentures, their design is simpler, making the prosthetic cheaper to fabricate. This is reflected in their cost as they tend to be more economical.
Since they’re removable, younger children are likely to lose them. Therefore, these are more suitable for older children who can be more responsible and not misplace or lose them.
What Exactly Are Pediatric Partial Dentures?
Pedi-partials are a dental solution to missing teeth in children aged between two to eight. They serve as a temporary replacement to the child’s milk teeth until the permanent teeth fully erupt.
Just like adult partials, pediatric partials are custom-crafted to fit each child. Because their role is not to permanently replace secondary teeth, their design is simpler. Moreover, fabricating pedi-partials is cheaper. For these reasons, overall, they’re easy to fit and replace.
You can opt for removable pediatric partials, which are easily removable and replaceable, or go for fixed pedi-partials. The latter uses a metal band to hold them in place, with an existing molar holding the metal band in place. One can use fixed pedi-partials as space maintainers too.
The design, fabrication, and fitting of pediatric partials involves:
- Taking the child to a dentist, who examines their inner mouth to develop a mold
- Fitting the pedi-partials and making any needed adjustments
- Finally, the dentist fits the prosthesis in the child’s mouth
What Are the Benefits of Pediatric Partial Dentures?
Investing in pediatric partials for kids comes with numerous benefits. The children can live, learn, enjoy life, and grow just like any other kid, with no inconveniences or embarrassment that comes with missing teeth.
Some of the benefits your child stands to gain from pedi-partials include:
- Maintenance of aesthetics
- Speech development support
- Help prevent dental drift
- It helps maintain teeth spacing
- Essential in guiding the eruption of secondary teeth
- Aids in daily biting, chewing, and eating
What to Expect With Pediatric Partial Dentures?
At the beginning of having the partial dentures, your child is likely to experience discomfort as their mouth adjusts to the dentures. During this time, smiling, eating, and even speaking may require practicing.
That said, if your child complains about pressure or pain, then consult your dentist immediately. Sometimes, dentures may need some adjustments to make them fit better.
It’s not advisable to play too much while the appliance is new. Additionally, limit foods with too much color as they may stain.
Maintaining Pediatric Partial Dentures
To keep a partial denture in the best condition long-term, you need to observe the following maintenance practices:
- Clean the pedi-partial daily to remove food debris and plaque
- It’s recommendable to use a soft-bristled toothbrush for the appliance
- Avoid using toothpaste. Instead, use a denture cleaning solution or mild soap
- If need be, go for repairs, adjustments, or even replacements
Every child deserves a beautiful smile, and with either of the above teeth replacement options, the little ones can get back their natural and beautiful smile. So if your child loses their teeth, don’t worry. Just visit your dentist, get the dentures fitted, and adhere to the dentist’s post-care instructions.
Dentures may feel awkward at first, but your child will adjust quickly and enjoy their regular eating habits soon.