When most people think of a person with dentures, they envision an elderly patient. But there are far more young people walking around with dentures than you realize – in fact, it’s quite common. If you’ve got a child or teen with significant oral health issues, you may want to consider flexible partial dentures. Here’s why.
Why Do Children or Teens Need Dentures?
There are a number of reasons a child, teen, or young adult may need dentures, including:
- Dental trauma
- Lost or broken teeth
- Developmental issues (for example, ectodermal dysplasias)
- Decay due to poor oral health
Childhood is a period of rapid physical development, so if teeth are missing it’s preferable to replace them to facilitate proper jaw development and permanent tooth eruption. Leaving gaps in the mouth can cause further developmental or oral health issues down the line.
Dentures in kids, teens, and young adults can also help restore both functionality and aesthetics, helping them to eat a wide variety of foods to nourish their developing bodies as well as help them fit in socially with their peers.
What Types of Dentures Are Appropriate for Kids?
Your denture care professional will help determine what is most appropriate your child, teen, or young adult based on their specific oral health issues and their physical development. Some options are:
Full Dentures: It’s exceedingly rare that children need full dentures, but in some cases it is necessary if there is significant tooth decay or damage. For individuals with issues necessitating full dentures, it’s frequently recommended that they start wearing them as early as possible to get used to them by the time they begin school.
Implant Dentures: Generally, implant dentures aren’t used in children due to their rapid growth. However, in teens and young adults with fully-developed jaw bones, implant dentures can be installed to replace either one missing tooth or several teeth.
Partial Dentures: For those with only a few missing teeth, partial dentures help hold space in the mouth to preserve the health of surrounding teeth and restore both aesthetics and functionality.
Flexible Partial Dentures: Flexible partial dentures may be a good option as they tend to cost less than traditional rigid partial dentures. Many people also find them to be more comfortable. As a young person’s mouth is still growing and developing, it can be expected that their dentures will need replacing fairly frequently. Flexible partial dentures may help reduce the lifetime cost of your child’s dentures, if your denture care professional finds them appropriate for your child’s particular circumstance.