My 2 1/2 year old had to have his two front teeth removed due to nerve damage from a fall. His dentist retired and we were sent to a new one. I mentioned a “flipper” or some sort of press-on cosmetic tooth (teeth). The dentist was slightly rude and told me, “he’s 2, he won’t cooperate for a flipper”. What is your opinion?
He has Medicaid so I’m going to assume that this wouldn’t be covered. The Do-It-Yourself kits online are all made for adults. Ughhh, I don’t want his teeth shifting and he’s already had to walk around like this for 10 months!
Any help would be greatly appreciated
-Kristine from Michigan
It’s unfortunate that your dentist was rude. However, as a parent who raised five children and one who had a lot of experience treating child dental patients, I can tell you that he is right. Not only would it be impossible to get a child of that age to understand the need to cooperate with wearing a flipper partial, there are other issues.
It wouldn’t be safe, for one thing, as a flipper has the potential to come loose and choke your child. Just as you wouldn’t give your child certain toys with small parts or plastic bags that would pose a choking hazard, so you wouldn’t put something in their mouth that could easily come loose.
Besides this, there is a functional problem. A flipper is held in by metal clips or plastic parts that clip or press against other teeth. At that age where teeth are in development and the mouth is growing so quickly, you couldn’t get an appliance to stay in for any prolonged period of time.
However, there is good news in this situation, and that is that first, his baby teeth won’t shift at all because of missing front teeth. The shifting because of missing teeth in children occurs because of missing back teeth, and when those teeth are lost prematurely, a space maintainer is usually needed.
Second, children at this age are not self-conscious at all about missing teeth. So many children both younger and older have missing front teeth, either because their baby teeth haven’t come in yet, or they have lost baby teeth and are waiting for the permanent teeth to erupt. But even if that weren’t the case, I came to know several children who lost baby teeth due to accidents and it didn’t seem to faze them at all.
Bottom line–I wouldn’t worry about it.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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