Kids and Space Maintainers
Primary (baby) teeth are important for your child’s dental health. They help her eat and speak and serve as space holders in your child’s mouth to ensure that permanent teeth grow in straight. Baby teeth are also important for the jawbone and mouth muscles to develop normally.
If a child’s baby tooth comes out too soon due to accident or tooth decay, problems may occur. The neighboring teeth may crowd out the space where the permanent tooth should come in or cause the tooth to come in crooked. A space maintainer may be recommended by your pediatric dentist to reduce the risk of these problems.
A space maintainer is a dental appliance that fits to the space where the primary tooth is missing. The space maintainer is made specifically for children and can be made of metal, plastic or resin. Depending, there are some space maintainers that are removable and some that are less visible. For one of the types of space maintainers, a band or crown is fitted over one of the adjacent teeth. A wire loop braced against the adjacent tooth is made custom for every patient to hold to space open. Another type of space maintainers has a set of bands and wires that are fitted into the arch of your child’s mouth.
Although your child may be fully aware of the space maintainer, after a couple of days their mouth should feel completely normal. In order to protect these small appliances, it is important to have your child avoid gum or hard foods, avoid pulling or pushing the appliance with his fingers or tongue and to keep the area clean with brushing and flossing.
It is important to have your child follow proper care for the space maintainer so that they don’t have problems in the future.