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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Kids

Missing teeth



We found out today that my 8 year old son has 8 adult teeth missing.as you can imagine i am beside myself with worry.Both for his dental health but also for his self esteem and how he may be teased.Is there anything we can do to create a false smile until he can have prostesis made, as they are nearly all at the front.what can be done for now? please, i am open to all ideas, i am really upset about this affecting him as a young teenager let alone a young man. concerned mum...


The good news is that there are several options to "replace" your son's missing teeth until he is old enough for permanent implants and restorations. The most important step is to get an accurate diagnosis of his problem and to commit to a long-term plan of treatment. This may involve holding open spaces for eventual replacement with implants when his growth is complete, or orthodontic treatment soon to move teeth into the open spaces.

Your son should be evaluated by an orthodontist and you may decide to get several opinions. Make sure that your dentist and orthodontist explain the advantages and disadvantages of all options including time in treatment and eventual cost.

No matter which plan you choose, your son will undoubtedly have some spaces in his mouth for a period of time. The easiest and most convenient way to mask this is a removable appliance that has "false teeth" attached to it. It is made of acrylic and is similar to an orthodontic retainer. As your child grows and teeth erupt, this appliance (frequently called a "flipper") can be re-made.

Your child will probably need braces at some point and false teeth can be attached to the arch wires to fill in the missing spaces.

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Response by:

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University