Which Type of Space Maintainer Should Your Child Get?
According to Dr. Brown, tooth loss is part of the growth and development journey for children. However, baby teeth should not fall off randomly. The body naturally guides the loss of teeth gradually as the child grows up. Therefore, premature baby tooth loss can cause unwanted dental challenges, especially in the area of orthodontics. Whatever the reason is for your child to lose baby teeth early, space maintainers can help their dental health journey.
What Are Space Maintainers?
They feature metallic orthodontic devices used in dentistry to save space for new teeth to erupt after premature tooth loss. Maintainers for teeth save space enough for a single adult tooth at a time.
Children who lose their baby teeth early have to stay for a prolonged period without teeth before the permanent adult teeth erupt. Space maintainers are designed to save space for permanent teeth to grow.
Space maintainers work best for children who lose their baby teeth prematurely. The body naturally allows for the eruption of an adult tooth shortly after losing baby teeth. However, after an injury or severe dental decay, it may take longer for permanent teeth to erupt after baby tooth loss. Such cases are when kids’ dentists in Martinsville recommend dental maintainers the most.
The Role of Space Maintenance in Dentistry
Space maintainers in pediatric dentistry are crucial for promoting excellent oral health. While space maintainers cannot fight against dental cavities or other tooth infections, they help your dental health in the following aspects:
- To guide the eruption of a new tooth – a dental maintainer will create just enough room for one tooth. Therefore, once a tooth starts erupting, it will only grow in the set-aside position and space. In this way, maintainers also encourage proper dental alignment.
- Preventing shifting of teeth – when there is a gap in your mouth, the remaining teeth try to move to fill the space. The movement happens gradually over time, which means that the longer your child has a missing tooth, the more likely for the rest of them to start shifting.
- To avoid the need for future orthodontic treatments for the realignment and repositioning of teeth. Many children and teenagers who didn’t get space maintainers when they started losing baby teeth need orthodontic treatment from a pediatric dental office in Martinsville. Orthodontic treatments can be costly because they take several months before the treatment is complete. To spare yourself the expenses of getting braces for your child, consider space maintainers.
- Promoting proper bites – space maintainers support proper jaw development, ensuring that the mouth grows appropriately as the body changes. Proper jawbone development counters dental issues like crossbite, overbites, and underbites.
- Regaining lost space – sometimes the space of the lost tooth may narrow down with time as teeth begin to shift. A dentist for children may use a tooth maintainer to regain some of the lost space before the tooth erupts.
Different Types Space Maintainers
Dental maintainers for kids differ depending on how they are fitted in the mouth. There are two main categories, that is, removable and fixed space maintainers.
- Removable space maintainers – they mostly feature acrylic material and can be removed flexibly at will. They work similarly to partial dentures, where the Maintainer can be fitted with an artificial tooth for ease of removability.
- Fixed space maintainers – are attached to the mouth semi-permanently and can only be removed by a dentist once the treatment is complete. They come in four different types:
- Distal shoe space maintainer – commonly used to save space for molar teeth. It features a stainless steel wire hoop that sits on the gums to keep the space between two teeth from closing.
- Lingual space maintainers – are commonly used for children with congenital defects that cause premature tooth loss.
- Unilateral space maintainer – entails a wire wrapped around two teeth on both sides of the missing tooth.
- Crown and loop space maintainer – features a dental crown and a stainless steel wire loop. The crown goes over one of the adjacent teeth, while the loop saves space.