Space maintainers are special dental appliances used to keep teeth in place for a child’s developing smile. If your child has lost a tooth prematurely, your Michigan pediatric dentist may recommend a spacer as part of his or her oral health care plan. Here we will explore how space maintainers work in child dentistry so you can understand what is going on with your child’s smile.
What Space Maintainers Do In Pediatric Dentistry
A child’s baby teeth act as guides for the permanent teeth that will grow in their place. In some cases, a child’s baby tooth will come out before it is scheduled to because of injury, disease, overcrowding, etc. When that happens, the new teeth that grow in around the missing one can start to take the place of another tooth that will eventually grow in. Space maintainers help to prevent that from happening.
There is still a chance that teeth will come in crooked or crowded just from the natural development of your child’s smile. Nevertheless, space maintainers are a vital pediatric dentistry tool that give your child the best chance at growing straight, healthy teeth.
Different Types Of Space Maintainers
In regards to construction, most space maintainers are made of plastic, metal, or a combination of the two. They may be cemented in between two adjacent teeth, or they may be temporarily anchored so they can be removed at a later date. The space maintainer is customized to fit your child’s smile, and it may require some adjustment as your child’s permanent teeth grow in. At that time, your Michigan pediatric dentist will explore other appliances that will be helpful in your child’s bite development.
Space Maintainer Appliances vs. Dental Implants
The average adult mouth has 32 teeth, but not everyone’s smile is made the same. In other words, some people are born without certain permanent teeth. Eventually these missing teeth can be replaced with dental crowns and bridges locked in by dental implants, but dental implants cannot be installed until a child’s smile has stopped developing. Thus a space maintainer can be used to hold the place of a tooth replacement that will be coming in the future.
Your pediatric dentist in Michigan will help you determine if a space maintainer is a good choice for your child. Contact Clinton Dental Center at (586) 949-5363 to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment.