Dental Space Maintainers for Children

Dental Space Maintainers
Dental Space Maintainers

Taking proper care of a child’s baby teeth is one of the most critical stages of ensuring long-term dental health well into adulthood. That said the responsibility of caring for baby teeth rests in the hands of parents and a trusted dental care provider. Getting it right when it comes to baby teeth and adolescent dentistry in general ensures that young children are able to bite and chew and speak correctly. Ultimately the proper positioning of permanent teeth is the key to good dental health for kids. Keep in mind that one of the most important functions of baby teeth is that of holding a space so that adult teeth can push through in a straight and properly aligned fashion. When disease or injury results in the loss of the baby tooth prematurely, the result can cause permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong way. When baby teeth are lost prematurely, dental appliances known as dental space maintainers are used to hold that space open so that permanent teeth can erupt normally.

Hold a Space Open

For example, when a baby tooth is lost, teeth on either side of the space can drift into that space causing the permanent tooth to erupt improperly. When an adult tooth erupts out of position or becomes entirely blocked, teeth can look crooked, crowded or misaligned. The space maintainer appliance is usually made of plastic or metal. They can be fixed in place using cement or made to be removable. Regardless of the style of maintainer used, the main goal is always the same and that is to help children’s teeth develop in the right way. While fixed maintainer appliances are cemented directly to surrounding teeth, they can also be applied in a wide range of innovative ways.

Fixed or Removable
Fixed or Removable

Unlike fixed maintainers, removable maintainer appliances are simply like a retainer that is worn when having orthodontic treatment. The space maintainer that is removable offers more flexibility for parents and the child. This type of appliance is particularly useful when the tooth that is missing is a front tooth or one that is highly visible. Whether the space maintainer is fixed or removable, your children’s space maintainer is almost always a custom-made type of appliance that requires that impressions be taken by your dentist. The maintainer is worn until x-ray images show that the adult tooth is ready to emerge. At that time the maintainer is removed allowing the adult tooth to erupt normally. Contact your Stockton pediatric dentist, Sajjad Rizvi, DDS at Happy Kids Dental today for more information on the benefits of dental space maintainers.

References:
[1] Missing Teeth – Restoration Options
[2] Restoration Options For Missing Teeth

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