You probably thought that your teenager had passed the clumsy years, so the chances of accidents that result in tooth trauma or loss were rare if not over. If you're reading this, you now know that's not the case—at least not for your child. Alas, teenagers do lose teeth, and unlike small children, they don't get a nice sum of money from the tooth fairy while they wait it out for another tooth to come along.  The teen years can be hard enough for kids without the added burden of a flaw that makes them stand out from the crowd. So, what do you do when your teenager loses a tooth? Read on for options. 

Dental Implants

Dental implants are not an option if your child is below the age of 15 as their jawbones will not be fully grown. Placing implants into a jaw that is growing could negatively impact your child's healthy teeth, preventing them from growing to the correct size and affecting their natural position. However, 15 years is the ballpark number—not the definitive. Children develop at different rates. Some girls may be a suitable candidate for implants at 15—for boys, the earliest will be 17. It will depend on the individual. Most dental surgeons would recommend waiting until a child is 20 years old.

Maryland Bridge

A Maryland bridge is a fixed prosthetic tooth. This type of bridge works better for single missing teeth. The bridge consists of a false tooth that has tabs either side that are bonded to the neighbouring teeth to keep it in place. This is ideal as it can be removed at a later date, say when your child is ready for a dental implant.

Unlike traditional bridges, Maryland bridges do not require alterations to the otherwise healthy teeth that will keep it in place. Maylands should only be fitted in a child that has healthy gums and bones and who understands the importance of excellent teeth hygiene. Twice daily brushing and flossing are essential as Marylands can get a build-up of plaque that can damage the surrounding teeth and gums.  This type of bridge is not suitable for young people who grind their teeth as this kind of habit can result in breakages to the tabs that bond the bridge to the adjoining teeth.

RPD—Removable Partial Denture

An RPD is a prosthetic tooth set into a base (made from acrylic) that looks like the gum. These devices are fixed in place using metal clips that anchor them to adjoining teeth.  They're easy to maintain and removable for cleaning. RPDs are reasonably strong but can break if the wearer eats anything too hard. They may also need replacing and adjusting over time if they become loose.