Why do children lose their baby teeth?
A baby tooth usually stays in until a permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a baby tooth too soon due to an accident or disease. When a tooth is lost too early, Dr. Morgan may recommend a space maintainer to prevent future space loss and dental problems having to do with crowding.
Why all the fuss? Baby teeth eventually fall out on their own!
Baby teeth serve a very important role in saving space for their adult counterparts. Think of it as saving a seat for a friend. They also serve as guides, allowing adult teeth on either side to erupt into the proper position. Early loss of baby teeth without space maintenance may lead to shifting of present and future, unerupted adult teeth. This may increase the need for future orthodontics (braces) or cause a negative change in your child's bite, discomfort and gum issues from altered eruption or impaction of adult teeth.
What are space maintainers?
Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a prematurely lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It's more affordable-and easier on your child-to keep teeth in normal position with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.
What special care do space maintainers need?
Like braces, space maintainers require a higher level of responsibility when it comes to oral hygiene practices. Daily brushing and flossing is a must, as these appliances may retain food and plaque. Routine dental care is imperative. Also, it is important that your child refrains from all hard, sticky, chewy candies and gum as these have a tendency to dislodge the space maintainer.