Replacement for lost front teeth?

My 4 year old daughter had an injury to her top 2 front teeth almost 2 years ago, and they just now became infected. They are extracting the teeth tomorrow. My question is: Is there anything temporary that can be put there in place of them?

Question:

Dear Brenda,

Yes, there are appliances which can be fabricated to replace the missing teeth. First, I recommend looking at a radiograph together with your dentist to determine the position of the permanent teeth. You can also discuss which option will be best, given your daughter's situation.

One option is a removable appliance, also known as a pedodontic partial. This appliance would have "fake" teeth attached to acrylic. Wires, also attached to the acrylic, would be adapted to your daughter's posterior teeth to retain the partial. In order to increase retention, small "buttons" of composite (tooth-colored filling material) may be attached to the necessary posterior teeth. Patient cooperation is essential with these types of appliances. If you feel your daughter may not be very compliant with this type of appliance, you may want to opt for a fixed appliance.

A fixed appliance would include some type of bridge, which would be bonded to the primary molars. The basic design of a bridge would probably include two orthodontic bands with a wire attached. This wire, with the two front teeth attached, would loop around to the anterior portion of the arch. The wire would not be particularly visible because it is located on the tongue-side of the teeth. The orthodontic bands would be bonded to the primary second molars. If a patient is especially tough on their appliances, the wire itself could also be bonded to more teeth as it loops further forward in the arch. This will give it more strength. When the permanent teeth are close to erupting, or have slightly erupted, through the gum tissue, the bridge can be removed by removing the bands around the molars.

Thanks for the good question, and good luck with the tooth replacement.

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