Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN
A child’s baby teeth are naturally designed to stay in place until forced out by an erupting permanent tooth. Unfortunately, there are some cases in which a child loses a baby tooth too early. When this occurs, it may be necessary to place a space maintainer.
What is a space maintainer?
A space maintainer is a small oral appliance that helps save room until the permanent tooth erupts. Otherwise, the remaining baby teeth would begin to drift, causing teeth to crowd, become misaligned, crooked, and can even cause problems when the permanent tooth actually does erupt. By not preserving this space caused by the premature loss of a baby tooth, your child is more likely to need extensive and costly dental treatments such as orthodontics, later on.
When is a space maintainer necessary?
Each case is different, but in general, we recommend the placement of a space maintainer when a child’s baby tooth falls out prematurely or has to be removed by the dentist due to extensive decay or trauma. If you are not sure whether your child may need a space maintainer, consider a consultation with a pediatric dentist in Northshore such as Choto Family Dentistry.
Types of space maintainers
Space maintainers are designed to be either permanent or removable. These oral appliances can either be made of metal or plastic. In either case, the appliance is custom made to fit your child’s mouth. The dentist will assess your child’s oral health to determine which type will be best suited for your child.
There are many different types of space maintainers available, but the most commonly used kind is the band and loop space maintainer. During your child’s consultation, the dentist will determine which type of space maintainer is best.
How does the process work?
When designing a custom-made space maintainer, we start by taking impressions of your child’s mouth. This is a painless and simple process. We send the molds to the laboratory where your child’s space maintainer is handcrafted.
The space maintainer itself consists of two parts. One part fits around the tooth (behind the missing tooth), and a loop or a brace will fit over the gum area where the missing tooth once was, resting on the tooth in front of the space. The appliance will allow enough space for the permanent tooth to erupt properly.
After the placement of your child’s space maintainer, be sure that they see the dentist regularly for routine dental checkups and examinations. During this time, we will inspect your child’s space maintainer to ensure it is working as it should.
Family Dentistry in Knoxville
If your child has lost a baby tooth prematurely, call Choto Family Dentistry today at (865) 409-5077 to schedule a consultation for a space maintainer. Ignoring the gap may cause interference with the development of your child’s jaw, bite, and permanent teeth, which can later cost more money in dental treatments and even alter your child’s looks entirely!
We welcome patients from the areas of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the communities of Choto and Northshore.