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Space Maintenance After Early Tooth Loss in Kids


A child getting examined by a dentist at Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry in Rogers, ARYour child’s baby teeth are supposed to fall off naturally so that they can be replaced by permanent teeth. However, tooth loss can occur earlier due to some reasons, top among them being tooth decay and knocked off tooth due to an injury to the mouth. When early tooth loss occurs, the missing tooth leaves behind a space that will not be filled by the permanent tooth for a while. This can lead to some dental health issues that can affect your child even in their adult years. Luckily, at Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, we offer some space maintenance solutions that help to maintain the space until the permanent tooth is ready to emerge.

Why Is Space Maintenance Important?


When your child loses a baby tooth early, the adjoining teeth start to shift to fill the space that has been left. The effect of this is dental problems such as large tooth gaps, overcrowding (once the permanent teeth emerge), bite problems, and jawbone growth problems. These dental problems can be expensive to treat, especially when they are left unchecked for too long.

On top of that, most of these teeth problems lead to an unpleasant oral and facial structure, which can steal your child's smile and cause them much embarrassment during social interactions.

Types of Space Maintainers


Space maintenance is carried out by space maintainers, which are small dental appliances that are fitted to the missing space left behind by an extracted or lost tooth. The maintainers, which are custom-made to fit the lost tooth occupy the space that is left behind until the permanent tooth emerges. This prevents the other teeth from shifting around, causing the problems above.

Space maintainers come in many types, often varying based on the material used and the removability. Regarding material, space maintainers can be made of metal, plastic, or acrylic. Regarding removability, the maintainers can be either fixed (cemented to the teeth) or removable.

Removable space maintainers


Removable space maintainers, just as the name suggests, can be removed during eating, when brushing the teeth, or to ease discomfort. They are not usually used on kids due to their removability – only ideal for older children who have no problems following instruction.

Fixed space maintainers


Fixed space maintainers are permanently fixed in the mouth (that is until the new teeth start emerging), which makes them a better option for kids. They are available in some options:
•  Unilateral maintainers that are attached to one side of the mouth, and used for a single baby tooth
•  Bilateral maintainers that are cemented to the adjacent teeth, and used when more than one baby tooth is missing.

In addition to actual space maintainers, partial pediatric dentures can be used to maintain the space left by missing teeth, when several (especially front) teeth have been lost or extracted – for example, after an injury to the mouth.

Missing teeth can cause some dental problems for your kid, not to mention the fact that the gaps left behind are not attractive. However, with space maintainers, you can solve these problems, and guarantee a great oral dental health future for your child. Call us, Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, at 470-876-8883 for more information on space maintainers and other orthodontic solutions.

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