Sometimes children lose their baby teeth prematurely. This may be due to many factors, including extensive tooth decay, injury, periodontal disease, or certain medical conditions. Baby teeth lost too early can cause problems for erupting permanent teeth. It is important to have this space maintained by a metal oral appliance known as a space maintainer. A space maintainer will hold the space open in the mouth to prevent other teeth from shifting or leaning into this space.
Does your child need a space maintainer? Contact us at Saginaw Kids Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina. Both of our board certified pediatric dentists will be happy to consult with you for any questions you have about your child's dental needs.
Losing a baby tooth that is going to fall out anyway is no big deal, right? Well, not quite.
Your child’s natural baby teeth help guide the permanent teeth for when they are ready to erupt. If baby teeth are lost too early, surrounding teeth will shift into the space and will cause many issues with their permanent teeth. These complications can include some or all of the following:
Luckily, your child will need to have a space maintainer for only a short period of time until their permanent teeth erupt. As long as you bring your child for their regular cleanings and exams, Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina will let you know exactly when it is time to have the space maintainer removed.
A space maintainer may not always needed. A space maintainer will not be needed if any of the four front teeth are lost too soon. This is because other teeth won't drift in this area. Another instance when a space maintainer may not be necessary is when baby teeth are lost but will soon be replaced with permanent teeth. Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina will make sure to discuss with you if your child will benefit from having a space maintainer.
This is a fixed space maintainer that has a metal wire that runs along the gums to help guide the first permanent molars to erupt properly. These types of space maintainers will need to be vigilantly monitored with regular checkups by Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina.
This is the most popular type of fixed space maintainer. A wire made of stainless steel holds the space open and is attached to a band placed over the tooth immediately adjacent to the space.
Another type of fixed space maintainer that is only suitable for children who have their first permanent molars. Bands will be fitted around these molars and will be connected to a metal wire that runs along the four lower permanent incisors. This space maintainer is used for multiple missing teeth on either one side or both sides of the mouth.
This is determined by a few factors, such as:
The duration that your child needs to wear a space maintainer could be as short as a few months to as long as several years. Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina will discuss these factors with you in detail at your child's visit. They will also let you know exactly when it is time for your child's space maintainer to be removed.
Fixed space maintainers require regular brushing and flossing. There are also certain dietary restrictions your child will need to follow. These include avoiding foods that are excessively hard, sticky, chewy, crunchy, or sugary. These foods should be avoided to prevent damage to the appliance as well as to decrease the risk of tooth decay due to food becoming trapped in the appliance. As an additional precaution, you will need to make sure that you child does not play with their space maintainer so it does not become damaged.
We provide expert pediatric care for kids of all ages, including infants.