Pediatric Dental Space Maintenance for Missing Baby Teeth in Indianapolis & Fishers
Most children start to lose their baby teeth by the time they are 6 or 7, but every kid is different. Some children lose teeth earlier than they are supposed to because of illnesses, accidents, decay, or other injuries. Although losing teeth early might not seem like a serious problem, complications can occur if the baby teeth aren’t in place for as long as they should be.
Baby teeth play the crucial role of holding a space available for incoming permanent teeth. Unfortunately, if baby teeth fall out early, the other teeth might shift or spread differently, which could leave the permanent tooth without a place to go. Complications stemming from inadequate dental space can include:
When teeth go missing, the other teeth make up for the void by drifting into the space. This can create a gappy, ineffective bite, which can also affect your child’s self esteem.
Inadequate space might also cause the teeth to “tip” as they enter through the gum line, creating crooked teeth that are more susceptible to uneven wear and cracks.
A crowded smile can cause arch or midline issues, making future orthodontic work much more difficult.
- Dental Impactions Teeth that don’t have anywhere to go can become impacted near the jawbone, which can be painful for your child or cause infections, as well as affecting nearby teeth.
Dental Space Maintenance For Kids In Fishers and Indianapolis
To ward off these kinds of problems, Dr. Michelle Edwards recommends a space maintainer to prevent future orthodontic problems. Space maintainers are designed to hold open the area where the tooth has been lost, allowing permanent teeth to emerge naturally and comfortably.
Types of Space Maintainers
Space maintainers fall into two basic categories: removable and fixed. Here is a brief explanation of each type, and how Dr. Edwards might determine what is best for your child.
Fixed Space Maintainers
Fixed space maintainers are secured in place much like traditional braces, with loops wrapped around the teeth and glued in place to keep your child from moving or damaging the device. Fixed space maintainers are best for young children, who might be more likely to lose or fiddle with dental appliances. There are a variety of fixed space maintainers available, depending on where the child lost the tooth and how much space is needed for the permanent tooth to grow in.
Fixed space maintainer options include crown and loop, unilateral, lingual, and distal shoe. Crown and loop space maintainers and unilateral maintainers are typically placed on one side of the mouth to hold a single space open for a tooth. Distal shoe space maintainers, on the other hand, are designed for unerupted first permanent molars. To keep the molars from advancing forward and altering the smile, distal shoe space maintainers contain a smooth metal end that extends into the gum tissue to keep unerupted molars from coming in and closing the space. If your child requires a distal shoe space maintainer, Dr. Edwards will carefully monitor the area to make sure that the molar can erupt like normal without impeding the maintainer.
Lingual space maintainers are bilateral, which means they work on both sides of the mouth at the same time. Lingual space maintainers are typically cemented onto molars, with wires connected to the insides of the front teeth to keep the space open and controlled. Lingual space maintainers are normally used when the child is missing more than one tooth on both sides of the mouth.
Removable Space Maintainers
Removable space maintainers are acrylic orthodontic appliances that are custom-molded for each patient. These space maintainers can be removed during eating, engaging in sports activities, or brushing and flossing, giving children and teens the freedom to conduct their normal day-to-day activities. Some removable space maintainers even contain a false tooth to mimic the look of your child’s natural smile until their permanent tooth grows into place.
Make An Appointment Today
If your child has lost teeth prematurely, contact the Children’s Dental Center today to schedule an appointment for your little one. We will do everything in our power to make sure that their current and future smile is healthy and comfortable.