Baby teeth, also known as primary or deciduous teeth, not only perform the job of chewing and help your child speak properly, they also provide a guide for your child's permanent teeth to emerge in the correct location.
When your child prematurely loses a tooth, it means that they also lose the guide for their permanent tooth. Without their deciduous tooth as a guide, their permanent tooth may not have enough room to grow in properly, or it may grow in at an odd angle.
When this occurs, your child faces a misaligned bite and potential complications.
Naturally, we do our best to help your child keep their primary teeth until they come out naturally. Of course, where kids are concerned, not everything is predictable, and they could lose a tooth due to an accident or trauma, deep decay requiring an extraction, or a tooth missing from birth. When that happens, a space maintainer can help your child’s permanent tooth grow in properly.
Fixed Space Maintainers
When the space is visible, we often recommend a fixed space maintainer. Fixed space maintainers adhere to the adjacent teeth to hold the space between the teeth and prevent drifting. They are made from metal and attach to the adjacent teeth with a wire or dental adhesive. This option is best for kids who can follow directions on how to care for their appliance.
A lingual arch wire is used when a back tooth is missing. The wire wraps around your child’s teeth and holds them in place so that sufficient space remains for their posterior teeth to emerge.
Are Space Maintainers Always Necessary?
Not every missing tooth requires a space maintainer. If your child’s tooth is about to erupt, Dr. Walton may not recommend a space maintainer. The same is true if your child loses one of their upper four front teeth.
Additionally, if your child does not maintain good oral hygiene and does not have regular check-ups and dental cleanings, space maintainers may not be a good option. Because good oral hygiene is necessary to prevent infection and gum disease, regular brushing and flossing is necessary.
Call Us Today for an Evaluation
If your child has a missing tooth and you want to know if a space maintainer is necessary to prevent misaligned teeth, contact us. Our entire team at Burleson Pediatric Dentistry looks forward to welcoming you to our dental family.