Baby teeth serve many important functions, and one of the most important functions is to hold space for the permanent teeth. As a permanent tooth comes in underneath a baby tooth, the roots of the baby tooth dissolve away, and the permanent tooth pushes out the baby tooth.
Effect of early tooth loss
If a baby tooth is lost early, the neighboring teeth can drift into the space. This crowds the permanent teeth out of their proper alignment and will require extensive orthodontic treatment in the future.
We can use a space maintainer to hold the empty space open and allow the permanent tooth to grow in normally. A space maintainer is custom made. There are several different types, and we will discuss which is right for your child.
Making the dental space maintainers
To make a typical fixed maintainer, we place a metal band around the tooth and take impressions. The impressions are sent to a lab to create the space maintainer.
At the next visit, we place the maintainer and cement it to your child’s tooth. A wire loop holds the empty space open and just touches the tooth on the other side of the empty space.
We want to monitor the progress of the incoming tooth, so, we will need to see your child regularly and take X-rays.
We will keep the space maintainer on until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.
Avoiding dental space maintainers damage
To avoid damage to the space maintainer, your child should avoid gum, sticky candies and chewing ice. Hard foods, like raw carrots and apples, should be cut into small pieces.
A space maintainer is a good way to keep your child’s teeth growing toward a straight, healthy smile.