You should not underestimate the ability of your child’s temporary teeth. They are responsible for eating, speaking; and they also create a pathway for the growth of their permanent teeth. Therefore, if anything goes wrong with their baby teeth, then it will just as likely affect their permanent teeth.
Some situations such as accidental injuries can cause the loss of your child’s baby teeth. When this occurs, there is a tendency that the permanent tooth below might grow in a space that is meant for another tooth. Such a situation will result in an improperly aligned or crowded tooth.
The good news here is that dentistry has developed equipment that can be used to keep the space open whenever there a tooth is lost. The device, which is known as a ‘space maintainer,’ consists of either metal or plastic and can likewise be moveable or immovable. It will help your child to carry on with other functions of the teeth without affecting the permanent teeth below.
Types of Space Maintainers
- Fixed Space Maintainers
They are designed to remain permanently glued to the adjacent teeth. They come in different forms; some are designed with a band that circulates the tooth, while a wire loop stretches out to hold the space. Another consist of a loop that is joint to a stainless-steel crown, and surrounds the nearby tooth. In any of these designs, one thing is sure; the loop stretches to the point where it meets the neighboring tooth. Fixed space maintainers are mostly preferable for kids because of their immobility.
- Removable Maintainers
They look very similar to a retainer, and sometimes, there is a false tooth attached to it. The appliance is movable and is a good option for older children as they can adequately cater for the device.
No matter which space maintainer you choose for your child, doctors will make sure to design it according to the child’s mouth templates. Your child will continue to wear this device until our X-ray result reveals the likely emergence of the permanent tooth. However, you must help your child maintain good oral health, as well as bring them in for regular dental cleanings.
Aside from the above, space maintainers are also used when one or two permanent teeth have failed to grow. Although the situation is rare, such condition will also require a dental implant when the child becomes an adolescent.
It is essential to use space maintainers that have an artificial tooth in them until the child’s jaw is strong enough to have a tooth implant. The process is easy, involves no discomfort, and can save your child from bad bites (malocclusion).