When a parent learns their child is missing a tooth or multiple teeth it can be very upsetting. Typically, missing teeth will be discovered at a routine dental visit and the general dentist will refer the child to an orthodontic specialist for an evaluation.
Local orthodontist, Dr. Susan Lempert, explains the goals of this first orthodontic visit. “Often parents are very upset when they learn of their child’s missing teeth. I try to calm them at this first visit and put the problem into perspective by explaining that there are dental solutions to this issue. I always remind parents that there are many medical conditions that are far more serious and without a good prognosis so in comparison this is a problem that we can fix.”
While it may not be a life-threatening problem, Dr. Lempert does recognize the important aesthetic concerns for young patients who are missing teeth and the damaging effect it can have on their self-esteem if left untreated.
In Dr. Lempert’s office the child’s initial visit will be followed by a comprehensive analysis of their teeth and jaw bones utilizing advanced digital scanning technology, x-rays and photographs. A treatment plan will be formulated with a clear timeline and strategy. Some children may not be ready to start active orthodontic care at the time of their evaluation and all that will be needed is careful orthodontic monitoring until the timing for care is optimal.
When a child is ready for treatment the orthodontist will evaluate the dental spacing and jaw growth and determine if the missing tooth space will remain open or if it can be closed. In her practice, Dr. Lempert provides a transitional replacement tooth during active orthodontic care that blends in with the child’s natural teeth. This helps the child avoid the embarrassment of having a visible empty space in their mouth and allows them to smile confidently.
Dr. Lempert will work closely with the patient’s general dentist and specialists to create an optimal site for future restorations, including implant replacement. Dr. Lempert adds “I always provide aesthetic retainers with replacement teeth embedded in them so kids can smile assuredly. Implants cannot be placed until the child is done growing so retention of the orthodontic result is crucial for the best possible outcome.”
To learn more about missing teeth and what may be the best solution for you or a family member Dr. Lempert provides complimentary screenings for children in her Swedesboro office. You can visit her website at www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.
Dr. Lempert graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Human Biology. She received her Master of Science in Oral Biology Degree, Certificate in Orthodontics, and Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree from Temple University School of Dentistry.