Most children’s primary teeth are lost at pretty standard points throughout their childhood. If, for whatever reason, one of your child’s primary teeth falls out much earlier than expected, the teeth farther back in the mouth are in danger of shifting forward. Continue reading to learn how space maintainers can help to avoid costly dental procedures later on.
An Overview of Space Maintainers
What Does a Space Maintainer Do?
One of the responsibilities of a primary tooth is to maintain a clear space for the adult tooth to grow and erupt. If a primary tooth comes out before the adult tooth behind it has developed, then that space needs to be maintained until it is ready to erupt.
Space maintainers are a simple way to protect that space and provide a temporary placeholder which can be removed once the adult tooth erupts.
How Do You Know If a Tooth Has Fallen Out Too Soon?
Most primary teeth follow a general pattern and timeline which can make it easy to predict when each of your child’s teeth will fall out. If you are unsure as to whether a tooth has fallen out too early, you can always consult with your child’s dentist. She may recommend a quick appointment to take a look at the gum and may take an X-ray to confirm. If a lost baby tooth isn’t caught quickly, your dentist will see if a space maintainer is necessary during a routine dental cleaning.
Types of Space Maintainers
Space maintainers can be fixed or removable depending on the recommendation of your child’s dentist.
A fixed space maintainer is cemented onto the adjacent teeth and comes in a variety of designs. Some include a wire loop with metal bands that wrap around the adjacent teeth. Others include a stainless steel crown instead of bands. Most dentists recommend a fixed design for younger kids since they are easy to maintain and are not as easy to fidget with.
A removable space maintainer closely resembles a retainer. Some designs have a false tooth attached which may be preferable if the lost tooth is still visible, particularly in older children. This design requires more personal accountability to maintain healthy dental hygiene and must be worn on a daily basis to ensure the space is maintained.
Find a Pediatric Dentist in Wilson, NC
If you are looking for a new dentist for your children, we are accepting new patients at Wilson Pediatric Dentistry. We offer a variety of pediatric dentistry services in Wilson, NC. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today.