It’s natural for children to lose their baby teeth - however, if the adult teeth aren’t ready to erupt and they go too long with a space in between, then children may have more issues down the road with adult mouth health and alignment!
The best way to ensure proper teeth development is to schedule regular checkups at your pediatric dentist’s office. Your children’s dentist will complete a full oral exam and determine if a space maintainer is recommended. Space maintainers are devices used for maintaining tooth development when necessary, whether through natural baby tooth loss, an accident, decay, or trauma to the teeth.
The most important reason for space maintainers is that they help keep your child’s teeth in the right position. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding ones will naturally shift towards now-empty sockets if we don't stop them as soon as possible. This can cause all sorts of oral development issues when it happens too early in young children.
Your child’s baby teeth create the “pathways" that their permanent teeth will follow when they erupt. If a tooth is lost, it may not be replaced properly as your little one grows because of shifting spaces between them or conflicting path information from other nearby teeth.
Orthodontic treatment fees can be reduced if a space maintainer is placed immediately after your child loses their baby tooth prematurely. The permanent teeth will grow into the mouth properly, minimizing potential issues that would require braces and other costly treatments.
Your child's space maintainer won't hurt at all. It may be a little bit uncomfortable for the first few days after it has been placed - this is because every kid will need to get used to having a space maintainer in their mouth as it settles into place. In a short time, they won’t even notice it’s there!
The type of space maintainer that's right for you will depend on your child’s age and oral health. There are two types of space maintainers, fixed or removable.
A removable maintainer is usually only recommended for older children or adults. Removable space maintainers require the ability to care for the device with proper cleaning when taken out of the mouth. Younger children may find it difficult to adjust to the routine of removing and replacing this type of device.
Fixed maintainers are cemented to the teeth on either side of the space with a special product and hold the space until new teeth are ready to grow in. Different types of fixed maintainers include:
At Stoney Trail Dental, we offer space maintainers as part of our Additional Dental Care services in Calgary that also include laser dentistry, sleep apnea and snore guards, and TMJ treatment.
If you’re concerned that your child needs a space maintainer, give us a call and we will be happy to book your little one in for an appointment.