Maintaining healthy baby teeth is integral to a child’s oral health and development. If a tooth is lost before its permanent replacement is ready to come in, your trusted team at Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos may recommend a space maintainer to safeguard your child’s smile. But what exactly is a space maintainer, and why would your child need one?
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Baby teeth play an essential role in the development of the jawbone and facial muscles. They also help your child learn how to pronounce certain sounds and support chewing, ensuring your child gets the nutrients needed to grow strong and healthy.
Baby teeth act as placeholders, keeping the space the adult teeth need to erupt in their proper alignment. If a baby tooth is lost due to decay or trauma before its replacement is ready to come in, the adjacent teeth may shift toward the gap, resulting in crooked adult teeth and the likely need for future orthodontic treatments.
Baby teeth act as placeholders, keeping the space the adult teeth need to erupt in their proper alignment. If a baby tooth is lost due to decay or trauma before its replacement is ready to come in, the adjacent teeth may shift toward the gap, which can cause the incoming permanent teeth to get stuck in the bone, as there is not enough space for it to erupt. That may result in the need for future oral surgery to remove the impacted tooth along with complex orthodontic treatment. Placing a simple space maintainer after a tooth is lost or removed can help save thousands of dollars and prevent time spent in surgical or orthodontic care.
What Are Space Maintainers?
Space maintainers are custom-created fixed oral devices that improve your child’s oral health by maintaining the space left by missing teeth. A space maintainer comes with a stainless steel band around one tooth and a bar extending outward.
Space maintainers help keep the neighboring teeth from shifting or drifting, preventing the complications that often follow premature baby tooth loss, including the need for future oral surgery. They have been shown in some cases to reduce or even eliminate the need for braces down the road.
Life With Space Maintainers
It may take a brief adjustment period for your child to get used to the new space maintainer. Your little one may complain of mild changes to the bite or find that the oral appliance is initially annoying for the first day. Rest assured that this is perfectly normal and expected. In a matter of days, your child won’t even notice that the space maintainer is there.
Caring for a Space Maintainer
The space maintainer can trap food particles and plaque, so it’s important to maintain meticulous oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing. Make sure your child avoids chewy, sticky, or hard foods to prevent damage to the space maintainer.
Remind your child not to push on the space maintainer with the tongue or fingers to avoid loosening or bending it. Most importantly, visit Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos for routine dental exams and cleanings every six months. Our pediatric dentists and team will monitor your child’s oral health and ensure the space maintainer stays free of damage.
Space Maintainers Near Me in San Marcos, California
Visit Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos to learn more about safeguarding your little one’s smile with a space maintainer. Our dedicated pediatric dentists and kid-friendly team are all about laying the groundwork for healthy smiles for life. Call 760-798-2825 to schedule your little one’s appointment or complete the online appointment request form today!