Early Tooth Loss and Space Maintenance

Posted on : 18-10-2014 | By : Haddon Suttner | In : Dentistry for Children, Oral Health

Tags: , , , , ,

1

Facebook  Share on Facebook   |  

Baby teeth aren’t just for chewing. Each one also acts as a guide for the eruption of the permanent tooth that replaces it. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth loses its guide. It can drift or erupt into the wrong position in the mouth. Neighboring teeth also can move or tilt into the space. This means that there may not be enough space for the permanent tooth to come in.Dentists call baby teeth primary or deciduous teeth.

Early Tooth Loss and Space Maintenance

Primary teeth can be lost too early for several reasons:

  •     They can be knocked out in a fall or other accident.
  •     They may need to be extracted because of severe decay that causes infection.
  •     They may be missing at birth.
  •     Some diseases or conditions can lead to early tooth loss.

Space maintainers may be used:

  • If a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth is ready to come in
  • If a permanent tooth is missing

Types of Space Maintainers

A space maintainer is made of stainless steel and/or plastic. It can be removable. Some space maintainers are cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space in the child’s mouth. This is called a fixed space maintainer.

A removable space maintainer looks like a retainer. It uses artificial teeth or plastic blocks to fill in the space or spaces that need to stay open. This type of space maintainer often is used when the space is obvious to other people. Removable space maintainers work well in older children who can reliably follow directions about caring for this appliance.

There are several kinds of fixed space maintainers. A band-and-loop maintainer is made of stainless steel wire. It is held in place by a crown on the tooth next to the space or an orthodontic-type band around one of the teeth next to the open space. A wire loop is attached to the band or crown. It sticks out across the space where the tooth is missing and just touches the tooth on the other side of the open space. The wire loop holds the space open. This allows the permanent tooth enough space to come into the mouth without crowding.

Making the Space Maintainer

Each space maintainer is custom-made by a dentist or orthodontist.For a fixed space maintainer, a metal band is placed around one of the teeth next to the space, and impressions are made. Impressions are made with a soft material that tastes like toothpaste. It sets into a gel around the teeth and is easily removed from the mouth. This allows the laboratory to make a copy of the teeth to use in making the space maintainer. The band is also removed and sent to the dental laboratory with the impressions. The lab creates the space maintainer and sends it back to your child’s dentist. He or she cements it into place at a second office visit. Sometimes, a space maintainer can be made in the office in a single visit without impressions.

Caring Your Space Maintainer

The space maintainer may feel unusual at first. But after a few days, your child probably will forget about it. A removable space maintainer with replacement teeth can affect speech until your child gets used to it.It’s important for your child to brush regularly to keep the gum tissue healthy. A child with a fixed space maintainer needs to avoid hard or sticky foods and chewy candy and gum.

Comments (1)

thanks!!

Write a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.