Why Would My Child Need a Space Maintainer?
Maintaining healthy baby teeth is vital for your child’s oral health and development. If one is lost prematurely, your trusted team at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry may recommend using a dental space maintainer to preserve the space until the permanent tooth is ready to come in. We are all about prevention to maintain long-term healthy smiles.
Baby teeth play an essential role in the healthy growth and development of the facial muscles and jawbone. They also help with proper speech development and help your child bite and chew with ease, ensuring adequate nutrition.
When a baby tooth falls out before its permanent replacement is ready to come in due to trauma, decay, or damage, the surrounding teeth may shift and tilt into the gap. When this happens, the adult tooth no longer has the needed space to come in correctly, often resulting in crooked teeth, a crowded mouth, and problems with the bite. That typically means your child will need orthodontic treatments down the road. Having all of the primary teeth in place until it’s time for the adult ones to erupt helps protect your child’s smile from crowding and future orthodontic problems.
Space maintainers are custom-made fixed or removable orthodontic devices made from metal or acrylic. As their name implies, they maintain the space left by a missing tooth, preventing the surrounding teeth from shifting out of alignment. That helps ensure the proper growth of the incoming permanent teeth. Space maintainers help reduce and often eliminate the need for future orthodontic procedures such as braces.
At Smile Explorers, our pediatric dentists always make every effort to save a tooth. However, if a tooth is knocked out or if it’s damaged beyond repair due to illness or injury, we may recommend the use of a space maintainer to safeguard your child’s oral health.
In general, the upper front teeth don’t need help maintaining the space. However, any other baby tooth lost will require a space maintainer unless its permanent replacement is ready to erupt.
Your child will need to maintain good oral hygiene to keep the area around the spacer healthy. Encourage regular brushing and flossing and help your little one remove any trapped food or debris. Our team will review how to clean the space maintainer to keep your child’s smile healthy and free from disease.
Make sure your child stays away from chewy or hard foods to prevent them from getting caught on the space maintainer or causing irreparable damage. Don’t forget to visit Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry for your child’s routine dental exams and cleanings. We’ll inspect the spacer at each appointment and will remove it when the permanent tooth erupts.
Visit Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about safeguarding your child’s smile with a space maintainer. Our kid-friendly team is committed to providing our young patients with the highest level of care and service. Call us and schedule your appointment today!