While it may not seem like baby teeth are important because they eventually fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth, they actually play an important role in the future of your child’s oral health.
Baby, or primary, teeth provide guidance for the proper eruption of permanent teeth. When a child prematurely loses a baby tooth, it can affect how the permanent tooth grows in.
When your child loses a tooth from disease or extraction, we need to reserve the space for their permanent tooth until it is ready to erupt. We can do this using a space maintainer.
Space maintainers come in a variety of forms from plastic to metal and may be removable, like an orthodontic retainer, or fixed. Fixed space maintainers are attached to your child’s adjacent teeth.
When tooth loss or an extraction occurs, the remaining teeth may tip or tilt toward the gap in their smile. When it comes time for your child’s permanent tooth to make an appearance, if tilting and shifting of their bite has occurred, the permanent tooth may not have enough space and be forced to erupt sideways, out front, behind the other teeth, or at an angle that is not ideal for either good oral health or their appearance.
Placing a Space Maintainer
We will determine the type of space maintainer that works best for your child. The type that will work best depends on the number of missing teeth, the location of the missing teeth, and the health of the adjacent teeth. When we place a fixed space maintainer, we will monitor it regularly to ensure that it is holding sufficient space to reserve room for their permanent tooth. We can attach the fixed space maintainer to the adjacent teeth using metal brackets or even placing an artificial tooth in place of their missing tooth, similar to a bridge.
If we create a removable space maintainer, compliance is essential. Teaching your child to wear it regularly will improve results. It will be similar to an orthodontic retainer, and children generally get used to wearing them quickly.
As with all dentistry, maintaining good home care habits as part of the daily routine will help support overall health. Fixed space maintainers often require extra attention to keep them clean and protect the surrounding gum tissue.
As your child’s permanent tooth erupts, we can remove the space maintainer to allow nature to take its course.
Contact Us to Schedule a Dental Exam
We know that having someone you trust to take care of your child is important, and we take our role in your child’s health seriously. Contact Wonderland Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an exam and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having an experienced pediatric dentist caring for your child.