A number of children born with a cleft lip and palate may not develop a lateral incisor or may lose other permanent teeth for various reasons. This results in a gap between the teeth. Sometimes the orthodontists are able to move the canine tooth into the lateral incisor position, but not always. When there is a dental gap, the patient will need an artificial tooth or teeth. This decision is made after the orthodontic treatment and is typically in late adolescence (after age 17). There are basic options:
- Artificial tooth/teeth that are bridged between adjacent teeth
- Dental implants that support the artificial tooth
The Prosthodontist who is a dentist will help you make the decision. The decision will depend on:
- Whether there is enough bone at the dental gap to support a dental implant. If not additional bone grafting will be required. We typically use bone that is donated for this procedure.
- How healthy the gum tissue is and the blood supply to the area will be an important factor to support the bone graft and the implant
- Whether there is dental caries and the oral health will also be important factor.