My three year old lost his front teeth due to a traumatic fall. He doesn’t seem bothered by it but I’m worried about his teeth shifting. I asked our dentist about it and he was short with me and said that was a ridiculous idea. I was so embarrassed I didn’t even ask him why. I just left. However, I’m still worried about his teeth shifting. I looked online for a DIY type of flipper and they only sell those sized for adults. Do you have a recommendation?
While your dentist is technically right that a dental flipper won’t work for a 3-year-old, he really went about it the wrong way. When you are a dentist who works with children, you also have to understand the worry that parents face. Unless they are a dentist themselves, they won’t know what the dentist knows. It is unfair for him to respond to you that way. I think you may really be better served with a different dentist for your child.
Instead, his responsibility is to make sure you understand why your child needs or doesn’t need. I know you are worried about his teeth shifting. This is an important thing, but it is usually only a concern when it comes to back teeth. These teeth have to remain in place until your child is around twelve years of age. If something leads to him losing those teeth, then your dentist can place a space maintainer there to hold the space open.
A dental flipper won’t work for a young child for three reaosn. First, there are small parts which can come off and will be a choking hazard. Secondly, they have to be retained by either using clasps onto the rest of his teeth or by the flipper pressing against the surrounding teeth. Children’s jaws are in a constant flux of development. You won’t be able to keep it in for any reasonable length of time. Finally, they’re removable. It would be almost impossible to get a three-year-old to keep it in. My guess is, you’d spend more time looking for it than your child would wearing it.
In your son’s case, he’s fine as he is. Shifting isn’t the issue it is for front teeth that it is for back teeth. Plus, as you noted, it won’t really bother your child to not have those teeth. It might even become a badge of honor to be the first of his friends to lose his front teeth.
This blog is brought to you by Fountain Valley Dentist Dr. Tammy Tran.