When Are Space Maintainers Necessary?

A premature loss of a baby's tooth is not a concern for many parents. They think that since baby teeth are supposed to fall out anyway, they don't need to worry too much about it. 

In reality, baby teeth play a crucial role in establishing the proper foundation for good oral health later on. 

When a child prematurely loses a baby tooth, there can be a gap left until the adult tooth is ready to erupt. This gap might cause the other teeth to shift, leading to dental problems such as crowding or misalignment when the permanent tooth tries to come in.

That's when your child's dentist may recommend space maintainers

What Are Space Maintainers? 

A space maintainer is an orthodontic attachment used to hold the space of a missing baby tooth until the permanent tooth is ready to emerge. 

Space maintainers can be fixed or removable. Dentists usually recommend fixed space maintainers since they are more durable and less likely to be damaged or lost. However, if a child has more than just one missing tooth, a removable space maintainer may make more sense. 

How Do They Work Exactly? 

It all starts with a consultation during which Dr. John Walsh will check your child's teeth to determine if a space maintainer is the right solution for them. Then, he will take impressions of your kid's teeth and send them to a lab to create a custom-made space maintainer. Once the device is ready, he will fit it into your child's mouth and make any necessary adjustments. 

Your kid will need to see Dr. John Walsh regularly so he can check the maintainer and decide when it's the best time to remove it. 

When Are Space Maintainers Necessary? 

More often than not, space maintainers are recommended when a child loses a baby tooth prematurely. But, that's not the only case. 

  • Premature Loss of Baby Teeth: As we already explained, baby teeth are placeholders for adult teeth. Their role is to guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely due to trauma, decay, or other issues, a space maintainer can help keep the spot open for the permanent tooth.
  • Missing Primary Teeth: Some children are born without some of their primary teeth (a condition known as congenital absence). Space maintainers may be used in these situations to prevent the other teeth from shifting into the empty space.
  • Dental Treatment or Surgery: Sometimes, space maintainers are used after dental treatment or surgery on a child's mouth to prevent other teeth from shifting into an empty space while healing takes place.

Did Your Child Lose a Baby Tooth? Call Great Bay Orthodontics Now! 

A prematurely lost baby tooth can create a lot of long-term damage. It's best to see Dr. John at Great Bay Orthodontics for a quick consultation and together determine the best course of action for your child's oral health. 

Get in touch with us now to book your appointment. 

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