Not all parents know just how important baby teeth are to their child’s future dental health. Baby teeth are designed to serve as “guides” for permanent teeth, so they grow in properly. When baby teeth come out too early, for any reason, adjacent teeth may move into the space left by the missing tooth, leaving no room for the permanent teeth.
It’s inevitable that some children will lose one or more baby teeth before they should, with decay or injury the main reasons. But parents don’t need to be overly alarmed or concerned for their child’s future permanent teeth. Here’s why:
Space maintainers can be used to protect the gap
These dental devices can be put into place to preserve the space until your child’s permanent teeth erupt, essentially replacing lost baby teeth. While removable space maintainers are available, we recommend “fixed” space maintainers to guarantee that they will be there to do their job. (Children tend to loose the removable variety or don’t wear them consistently.)
Customized space maintainers offer an ideal fit for your child’s mouth.
If your child is only missing one tooth, we can create and place a space maintainer in one appointment. For multiple missing teeth, we take measurements and impressions to insure the right fit, and a dental lab that will create custom space maintainers to our specifications.
Caring for space maintainers
As always, it’s important to maintain good oral health habits, including brushing and flossing, to protect teeth and gums — and to help avoid irritation that spacers may cause. You can also use saltwater or over-the-counter mouthwashes, which help heal gum tissue as well as kill bacteria.
Knowing when to remove space maintainers
When you or your child notice that a permanent tooth is starting to erupt, make an appointment with us so we can determine the proper timing for removing the space maintainer.
Don’t be tempted to ignore missing baby teeth
Those first teeth perform an important function in addition to allowing your child to eat solid foods. Make sure your child’s permanent teeth have a place to go. Learn about space maintainers today by calling: (800) 717-KIDS.