If your child lost a baby tooth early or had to get it removed because of decay, there could be a problem with that new gap in the teeth. With no guidance for new adult teeth to come in, the tooth could potentially travel into the gap, which will cause problems once the other teeth begin to grow and it gets crowded. The dental staff at Sun Valley Pediatric recommend that you get a space maintainer for these little ones until their teeth grow in.
So what is this device? A dental space maintainer can be one of two things: a removable orthodontic device (usually acrylic) or a cemented metal spacer. While missing teeth won’t interfere with the child’s ability to eat, it can disrupt future speech pattens once the teeth grow out. It’s also important to note how crowding can make teeth look bad, cosmetically.
There are different kinds of spacers:
- Band and Loop Space Maintainer (also called a unilateral or distal shoe)
- Lingual Arch Space Maintainer (also called a bilateral)
- Removable device with fabricated teeth
Some of the removable spacers look like a mix between a retainer and dentures! Although this can take some getting used to, it will be very helpful in the long run. Make sure your child does not poke at the metal with their tongue or fingers, so they don’t bend it out of shape. If it is a fixed device, have them steer clear of chewy, sugary foods just like they would if they were wearing braces.
These dental spacers are not permanent and are only there to serve one purpose: saving space for the adult teeth. Make sure that your children take care of these devices by keeping up with their daily dental hygiene. Follow the instructions from your pediatric dentist with care and you’ll see a bright, wide smile soon enough!