The most frequent questions, comments and challenges that the NFED staff hear are related to dental treatment, dental treatment access and finding a dentist who can provide the treatment. I don’t think that this has changed much since the foundation was started. We still get lots of calls saying that the dentist won’t provide treatment until the age of 18 or so and won’t make dentures for a child.
Really? Why is that when we know that children can successfully wear dentures after the age of three? We still hear the same old excuses like “the child won’t cooperate” or “the child won’t wear the dentures” as reasons not to begin treatment. How do you know a child won’t cooperate with treatment or wear the dentures unless it is tried? Look at all of these young children sporting beautiful smiles
What should you do if your dentist tells you that your child is too young for dentures? You should absolutely find another dentist and get a second opinion.
Teeth are important for facial structure, chewing (nutrition), self-esteem and speech. Imagine that! Teeth being medically necessary rather than cosmetic in nature! Whew, that is an entirely different subject that really gets me going. I will save that for another time.
Another reason dentures are important for these children is because they likely have diminished saliva to help digest food. Can you imagine chewing and digesting your food if you have less saliva AND only a few teeth?
If a child starts wearing dentures at an early age; they will develop a lifelong habit of wearing the dentures and (hopefully) taking care of their teeth. Putting their teeth in will be like putting their shoes on.
Children who society may perceive as looking differently – including not having teeth – can be teased and bullied. We all know that sometimes kids can be mean and that the victims of bullying can suffer devastating damages to their self-esteem and quality of life. So why not just see if these youngsters can wear dentures?
The trick with this whole process is making sure the child has age-appropriate dentures that are the right size and fit appropriately. The second step, of course, is for parents to insist that they wear their dentures just as they would if they needed glasses.
We also hear that the ONLY treatment that will be successful is an implanted supported treatment plan that costs well over $50,000-$100,000. I just can’t imagine! Who has that kind of money? You can buy a house or several cars for that.
One of our experts once told me that this can be compared to driving a Cadillac or driving a Volkswagen; they both get you where you want to go. However, one is the top of the line and much more expensive.
Lots of us can’t afford the Cadillac! Thankfully, there is always an alternative if you can’t afford a Cadillac. The same is true with dental restoration plans; there are always several treatment options.
Bottom line and take home message: There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion or asking your dentist for an alternative plan. As a matter of fact, many times it is the absolute best plan.
If you have questions about what age appropriate treatment options there are, download our Parameters of Oral Health Care for Individuals Affected by Ectodermal Dysplasia Syndromes. This publication will apprise you of an experienced, expert panel’s recommendations for care.
From Debbie, mom to 3-year-old Jackson
“Jackson having dentures has meant a great deal to us. Since getting his teeth when he was four it has empowered him to make choices with regard to what he wishes to eat, rather than choose based on what he can eat.
Since Jackson has had his full set of teeth, it has given him the confidence at an early age to celebrate his smile, and recognize that it is our differences that make special and extraordinary.
“I like my dentures because it lets me chew food that I was not able to before I had them.