Posts for tag: Space Maintainer
At your child's latest dental visit, you found out one of their primary (“baby”) teeth has become decayed and in danger of loss. Of course, you may think, it's only a primary tooth — it's going to come out sooner or later.
But a primary tooth lost “sooner” rather than “later” can create long-term negative consequences for your child's dental health. For the sake of the future permanent tooth, the best treatment strategy could be to put forth the effort and expense to save it.
Besides its role in eating and chewing, a primary tooth's most important function is as a “trailblazer” for the permanent tooth developing below it. A primary tooth doesn't normally loosen and let go until the new permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Until then they hold the new tooth's space in the jaw.
But if the primary tooth is lost prematurely, nearby teeth can drift into and crowd the space so that the permanent tooth comes in out of position. This can result in a malocclusion, or poor bite.
Depending on the state of your child's jaw development, it may be advisable to attempt saving the tooth through a filling or, in the case of deep decay, a modified root canal treatment. If the tooth can't be saved, then placing an orthodontic appliance known as a space maintainer might be necessary. Cemented to a tooth next to the empty space, this appliance has a looped band of metal that butts against the tooth on the other side of the gap, and prevents both teeth from drifting into the space.
Intervening for a decayed primary tooth can seem a waste of time and money since it has a limited lifespan to begin with. But for the health of its companion permanent tooth, as well as possibly avoiding orthodontic treatment, it could be well worth it for your child's long-term dental health.
If you would like more information on dental care for your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”
Find out how this treatment could prevent teeth from shifting out of alignment.
A child should begin losing their baby teeth around the age of 6 years old; however, if your child is losing their baby teeth to cavities or other issues, then there may be a concern that teeth might shift out of alignment. To combat this, our Amherst, NH, pediatric dentists Dr. James McAveeney and Dr. Andrew Cheifetz may recommend placing a space maintainer.
What is a space maintainer?
If your baby’s molars aren’t present (often due to a congenital abnormality) or if your child has lost teeth a little too young then a space maintainer may be the best approach for preventing teeth from shifting out of place. If these teeth shift out of place they can also affect how adult teeth come in, causing further misalignments or other issues.
A space maintainer will not be necessary if the first six front teeth have fallen out prematurely, as the sole purpose of a space maintainer is to hold the six-year molars in their proper position and to provide a space for the canines and other teeth to come through.
The most common type of space maintainer is a fixed one, which means that the wearer can’t remove the appliance. The appliance will be cemented into place by our Amherst, NH, pediatric dentist to make sure that it is effective at keeping your child’s developing smile in alignment as permanent teeth continue to come in.
What are the benefits of getting a space maintainer for my child?
The most obvious benefit, which we already touched upon, is the fact that a space maintainer will create a holding spot for teeth to erupt, preventing them from shifting out of alignment or causing problems for adult teeth that are trying to come in. For example, a space maintainer is perfect for preventing the movement of premolars (also known as bicuspids) and permanent molars while also creating the ample space for permanent teeth to erupt.
Is your child losing teeth a little earlier than they should? Do you want to know if a space maintainer may preserve their smile as it continues to develop? If so, it’s the perfect time to call our office to learn more about the pediatric dental services we offer here in Amherst, NH. Turn to Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire today.