Tag Archives: dental implants for teenagers

a Maryland bridge is not a temporary tooth replacement

My daughter had a gymnastics accident which damaged a tooth. Three failed root canal treatments later and we need to extract the tooth. My plan is to eventually replace the tooth with a dental implant when she is old enough. In the meantime, we need a temporary replacement. My dentist suggested a Maryland Bridge. I just wondered what you’d think about that. I asked about a partial flipper, but he said she’d lose them because they’re removable and this will bond to her teeth in the back.


Dear Patricia,

First, I want to say your choice of doing a dental implant for her permanent replacement is a fantastic idea. It will serve her very well. I’m glad you realize she will have to wait until her jaw is fully developed. Some parents mistakenly think they can get a dental implant right away, while their child is still a teenager.

dental flipper
Dental Flipper

As for a temporary replacement, your idea is better than your dentist’s suggestion. While a dental flipper is removable and, yes, there is always a chance that your daughter will lose her flipper. In all honesty, though, you could replace several of them for the price of one Maryland Bridge.

With a traditional dental bridge, a false tooth is suspended between two crowns. That requires grinding down the two adjacent teeth, which is definitely not something you’d want to do to healthy tooth structure.

While a Maryland Bridge does not require damaging the adjacent teeth, it is not the temporary tooth replacement your dentist is saying it is.

tooth preparation for a Maryland Brdige
Tooth preparation for a Maryland Bridge

While the Maryland Bridge has two metal “wings” which will bond to the back of the adjacent tooth, without cutting a little groove in the tooth for it to hook into, the bonding is not going to stay. Whenever you are doing any removal of tooth structure, that is not a temporary replacement.

Go with your original idea and get a dental flipper for your daughter.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Dental bridge before implant?

I’m a little concerned about what my dentist is recommending for a missing tooth on my 15-year-old daughter. We’re planning on getting her a dental implant when her jaw is developed enough for one. I was looking at some temporary replacements. I thought a flipper would be a good option, but my dentist wants to give her a dental bridge. I think that’s a bad idea, but he said flippers are too temporary. What do you think?


Dear Mandy,

woman smiling with a dentist
It’s always okay to get a second opinion from another dentist

I’m glad you wrote about this. While a dental bridge is a more secure fit, I don’t think it is a good fit for a teen aged girl. There are two reasons for this.

First, just like her jaw is still developing for her dental implant, she will need new bridges. That is too expensive to keep replacing as she grows.

Even though the flippers are meant to be temporary, you can replace those in a much more affordable way than the bridge.

There is another reason too which has nothing to do with cost. A dental bridge requires her adjacent teeth to be crowned in order to support and suspend the false tooth. That will mean those teeth will always have to be crowned for the remainder of her life.

If those teeth are healthy, you won’t want to grind down the healthy structure.

It’s Okay to Get a Second Opinion from Another Dentist

A good dentist will give you all of your options. Even then, they will make a recommendation. if you don’t like their recommendation and they’re pressuring you to go with their option, I recommend getting a second opinion.

If your dentist refuses to do the treatment you want you can go to another dentist for that procedure. That means you could get your daughter a dental flipper elsewhere. You don’t have to switch dentists to do that, unless you want to.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

Can an Adult Tooth Be Saved Once it’s Knocked-Out?

At my son’s football game one of the young men had a tooth knocked out. He just tossed it aside and kept playing. I’ve been wondering about that ever since. Could the tooth have been saved? Are there steps that need to be taken?


Dear Arlene,

hockey player missing a tooth
How to Save an Adult Tooth

It’s good that you’re asking about this ahead of time because there is very little time to actually save a tooth during the trauma of the event. At max, you have 30 minutes. If a series of unfortunate events take place which causes an adult tooth to get knocked out here are the steps to take:

  • Grab the tooth by the crown only. That’s the visible part of your tooth when you smile. DO NOT touch the roots.
  • The tooth needs to stay moist. If milk is available, place the tooth in a cup of milk.
  • Call your dentist’s office and let them know you have a knocked out tooth and are on your way in. They’ll know time is of the essence and will be ready for you when you arrive.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep a short list of emergency dentist numbers on hand who see non-established patients, even after hours, in case you can’t reach your dentist.

What to Do if the Dentist Can’t Save the Tooth?

Sometimes you and the dentist can do everything right, but the tooth cannot be saved. In that case, you’ll want to know about your tooth replacement options.

Fortunately, the advances in dentistry have been useful. Your best option, if you’re a good candidate is to get dental implants. Depending on the age of your son, he may not be a good candidate. Teenager’s jaws are still developing.

If that’s the case, your dentist will go over temporary options for him that will give him a false tooth and hold the space available for implants in the future. Make sure he knows you son is in a contact sport so he takes that into consideration with any temporary replacement.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.