How Space Maintainers Can Help Your Child’s Smile

February 8, 2020 5:23 pm

little girl smiling at camera

Primary teeth, or baby teeth, play a critical part in your child’s early development. They help your child learn to speak and eat properly, and guide the growth of their underlying permanent teeth. Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they still require proper care. And some children benefit from space maintainers. Read on to learn more!

Losing Baby Teeth

Children typically have 20 baby teeth, but there are anywhere from 28-32 adult teeth waiting to erupt and fit inside your child’s mouth. Baby teeth usually remain in place until pushed out by one or more emerging permanent teeth. But occasionally a baby tooth will fall out prematurely. It might get knocked out or damaged due to an accident. Or it could be damaged by decay and infection. And sometimes for genetic reasons, children do not get all of their baby teeth.

Whatever the reason your child has gaps in their smile from missing baby teeth, the surrounding teeth can shift into that space and potentially disrupt the proper growth and placement of future permanent teeth. When the permanent teeth try to emerge, their eruption is blocked if there isn’t enough room for them in the space where they’re supposed to be.

Space Maintainers

A space maintainer is an appliance custom made to fit your child’s mouth. It holds the space open that is left by a missing baby tooth until the permanent teeth can grow in. The appliances are small, and children usually adjust to them without issue.

It’s easier to guide permanent teeth into place as they emerge than it is to move them into place later. Thus, space maintainers make later orthodontic treatment less complicated and more affordable.

Early Intervention

Even if your child’s teeth fall out naturally, space maintainers might be needed to ensure that their permanent teeth grow into place correctly. This can be due to a variety of reasons. For example, sometimes permanent teeth are slow to emerge. Or space maintainers can help make an emerging malocclusion less severe. Malocclusion is the term used when the upper and lower teeth are improperly matched when the mouth is closed. You may have heard it called “bad bite.”

Schedule Your Child’s Checkup!

At your child’s next checkup, our expert team will let you know if your child would benefit from a space maintainer and early orthodontic intervention. We’ll evaluate your child’s mouth for early signs of misalignment and malocclusion, and utilize dental radiographs to detect potential problems even before your child has permanent teeth.

Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics provides specialized dental care for infants, children, and teens in Hebbronville, Cotulla, La Coste, Castroville, Von Ormy, Natalia, Devine, Somerset, Pearsall, and San Antonio, TX. We look forward to seeing you and your child soon!

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