If your child loses a baby tooth too early, that can cause many long-term problems with their oral development in the future. While baby teeth are designed to fall out over time to make way for healthier teeth, having one fall out or get decayed too early will disrupt all the adult teeth. It can also cause issues with speech development. If this happens to your child, our Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry dentists will often recommend a space maintainer.
A space maintainer is exactly what it sounds like in its name. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the remaining baby teeth can drift to fill the gap which can cause further issues. One of the biggest issues it can cause is when the adult teeth start to grow in, and the mouth is not properly aligned due to the missing teeth. Your mouth will not have enough space to accept the new teeth. Space maintainers help stop this problem by keeping the baby teeth where they are and giving the adult tooth a wide gap to grow in.
Tooth maintainers are designed to be placeholders in your child’s mouth. The typical baby tooth schedule has your child growing all 20 of their baby teeth by the time they are three. Then they tend to fall out from the ages of six to 12 in the order they grew in. By the time your child is between 12-13 years old, they will have a set of permanent adult teeth.
Different Types of Placeholders
There are several types of placeholders, and we will need to figure out which ones are right for your child. Some of the common types of placeholders can include:
Band and loop maintainers are made of a stainless-steel wire with a band looped around the tooth right next to the gap in your child’s mouth. The wire and loop hold the teeth around the gap in place, allowing the adult tooth to spring up unhindered.
A lingual holding arch is attached to the bottom of your child’s mouth and consists of two rings connected by a curved wire. The two rings are connected to the first molars on their mouth, and the wire holds the lower molars in place and keeps them from moving.
Finally, if several teeth are lost, we can apply a denture to your child’s teeth. The denture is partial, not permanent, and will be removed once all the adult teeth have grown into their mouths. This is a special case and only intended for those with several missing teeth.
If your child needs a placeholder due to missing teeth or baby teeth that fall out too early, we can help you with any questions or concerns you might have. Come to Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry or call 571-833-1440 to set up an appointment. We will be happy to help.