Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

Dental Implants As Space Holders: How This Works And What To Expect Later On

by Stephen Silva

If your child loses a couple of baby teeth far too early, he or she could have some serious dental problems that only major orthodontic work could fix. While it may be a bit of a drastic measure, your dentist might suggest using dental implants as space holders. Here is how that works and what to expect later on as your child's adult teeth begin to push through.

Using a Natural Tooth and an Implant as the Anchor Teeth

Essentially, your child's dentist will look to see where an implant may be imbedded in your child's open gums and what the nearest natural tooth is. An expanse greater than two or three teeth has to be treated another way, but with only a couple of teeth missing, this may be a viable option for making sure your child's teeth do not crowd each other out or become impacted when they try to erupt.

The dentist will schedule your child for oral surgery, where the implant will be installed. At that time the dentist will also put a metal cap and wire bridge that connects the capped natural tooth to the implant. The wire bridge pushes the implant and the natural tooth apart to make room for the adult teeth in the future. This open bridge will also keep your child's natural teeth from drifting into the wide space where the missing teeth once were.

What to Expect as Your Child's Adult Teeth Begin to Erupt

As the adult teeth begin to erupt and fill in this open bridge space, your child's dentist will examine them and make sure the teeth still have enough room to come through. When these teeth are about half way up and have filled in some of the space, or the teeth are now touching the wires of the open bridge, your dentist will remove the wire bridge and the metal cap from the natural tooth. If there is an adult tooth present underneath the implant, the implant may also be removed to allow for the eruption of the natural tooth. All of these devices are used to create the space for the missing teeth and to allow for teeth farther back to erupt into their proper positions.

In the event that your child's dentist removed an adult tooth to place the implant, the implant stays put. It will not be removed, and your child will have that implant for life. Adjustments to the size and shape of this implant may need to be made as your child grows and his/her teeth erupt on both sides of the implant, as well as a need to make the implant look like a natural adult tooth.

For dental implants, contact a dentist such as Bruce Mathes DDS.