What is a Space Maintainer?

missingtooth]The average age that children begin losing their teeth is six. Some begin before, around age four, and other’s maybe not until they turn seven. But losing teeth is a natural occurrence for children between the ages of four and seven. Sometimes, however, a child may lose a tooth or teeth earlier, possibly from an accident, or perhaps due to decay. When a child loses a tooth prematurely the permanent tooth can erupt too early and it can often come in crooked. To prevent this from happening to your child, your Livonia, MI dentist, Dr. James Stewart, explains what to do to prevent crooked teeth should your child lose a tooth too early.

Effects of Early Tooth Loss

An interesting fact about your mouth is that if there is a space between your teeth, the other teeth will try to fill it. If a child loses a baby tooth earlier than usual, the teeth nearby will try to fill the space intended for the permanent tooth by shifting, tilting, leaning, or drifting. This causes the permanent tooth to erupt crooked. As the other permanent teeth erupt, it can lead to crowding and a mouth full of crooked teeth. When this happens, orthodontic treatment is required as the child gets older.

Space Maintainers

If your child loses a tooth prematurely, you can help prevent the need for future orthodontics with a space maintainer. Space maintainers prevent teeth from erupting crooked by saving the space for the permanent tooth. The space maintainer consists of a stainless steel, or plastic loop that saves the space, and a band that slips over an adjacent tooth. Space maintainers are custom fit to the child’s mouth for precision, andcan be fixed (cemented into place) or removable.

About Dr. Stewart

James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. If it’s time for a professional cleaning, call our office today at (734) 425-4400, to schedule an appointment.