Space maintainers are dental devices used for children when they lose a tooth and wait for the permanent tooth to grow in. There are a number of reasons why your pediatric dentist might recommend this device.
What is the purpose of space maintainer?
Space maintainers are used to hold a gap in your child’s mouth when a tooth falls out. In general, they are not used for normal baby tooth loss but rather, are intended to keep the teeth aligned and properly spaced if the child has a tooth knocked out before it sheds on its own, if a tooth is lost due to cavities or if a permanent tooth is absent. When a baby tooth is lost too soon, it can affect tooth alignment. As such, this device serves as the lost tooth to help permanent tooth grow on their right positions.
Are there different types of space maintainers?
Space maintainers come in several types and your dentist knows the right type for your child. Removable space maintainers are generally made from acrylic, resembling an orthodontic retainer and can be removed when cleaning or eating.
On the other hand, a fixed space maintainer is attached to the teeth or gums. It is usually a better option for little kids who might not be able to care for a removable space maintainer. Some fixed space maintainers use wires and is held in place with a crown. This can be unilateral – only one side of the mouth, or bilateral – on both sides.
Another type is called a distal shoe. It is a fixed maintainer where the metal is place on the gumline to prevent a gap from closing when the first permanent molar erupt. Lingual space maintainer is used for more than one missing tooth. It is bilateral and the wire is placed on both sides of the molar teeth and behind the lower front teeth.
How to properly care space maintainer?
Taking proper care of your little one’s space maintainer will extend the lifespan of the device and makes sure it does its function properly. The device must be cleaned whenever the child flosses and brushes his teeth. For removable maintainers, it can be taken out from your kid’s mouth and cleaned while for fixed maintainers, it can be brushed like how he brushes his teeth. It is important to clean the gums where the space maintainer is attached. This will ensure that the area is healthy and clean, so by the time the permanent tooth emerges, there will be no issues that will affect your kid’s dental health.
Additionally, your pediatric dentist will have to check the device regularly to make sure that it is performing its job and isn’t causing any problems. If your child damages or loses a space maintainer, informs the dentist immediately so a replacement can be made. Failure to use the device properly will result in a misaligned tooth. This can be expensive and painful to fix. While wearing a space maintainer, it is important to have a regular dental cleaning.
The primary teeth, also called the baby teeth, must shed naturally so the permanent teeth beneath can erupt into the gums. Once the permanent tooth’s eruption is delayed for over a year from the supposed date, it is considered as over-retained. It is necessary to keep track of every primary tooth loss.
The first thing you should do is to wait for the baby teeth to eventually lose. If gum infection and pain become an issue so chewing and brushing or flossing as an ordeal, then removing the tooth could be necessary.
In some cases, baby teeth become loose and tighten again since the erupting permanent teeth starts to deflect from the supposed position in the dental arch. If the primary tooth become tight again and the permanent tooth is deflected, it may be best to remove the primary tooth. Some kids suffering from this have this problem repeatedly with their other teeth while other only have one or two teeth affected.
The most common cases of over-retained baby teeth are the primary maxillary second molar and the maxillary primary canine. Further, the most frequently missing adult teeth are the maxillary lateral incisors and the mandibular second premolar. Because of the absence of second premolars, the primary second molars usually will be over-retained. They usually remain to adulthood before requiring removal.
The cause of missing teeth isn’t completely known. It could be a genetic component but factors such as trauma, endocrine disorders and environmental elements can be considered.
Cause of Over-Retained Teeth
It is important to have the child’s teeth carefully assessed by a pediatric dentist. The color, shape, condition and position of the baby teeth is important to evaluate. There’s a chance that the baby tooth may be fused to the bone, a condition called ankylosis. This hinders shedding of baby tooth.
There are several reasons for the baby teeth to be over-retained. The most common reasons is when the permanent tooth are absent, which normally push the root of the baby tooth. Other reasons for over-retained baby teeth are obstructions, pathology, trauma, infection, misalignment of permanent tooth and late eruption of permanent tooth.
Treatment Options for Over-Retained Baby Teeth
Treatment options for over-retained primary teeth will depend on the condition of the baby tooth and its adjacent structures. If there are several over-retained teeth, there may be a number of missing permanent teeth. It is important that an orthodontist must see the child so a proper treatment plan can be developed.
If the baby tooth is aesthetically and structurally acceptable, the tooth can be retained. But if the tooth isn’t structurally and aesthetically acceptable, it can be retained and reshaped through restoration means.
When the baby tooth is crooked, it is better to remove it as the space between can be closed through braces. It can also be replaced by a dental implant or fixed bridge.
It is clearly important to always have your child’s baby teeth checked by a dental professional so that dental issues such as over-retained baby teeth can be recognized as soon as possible. An early treatment will definitely improve the result.
Birthdays, holidays and other special occasions are times when we catch up with family, friends and loved ones. Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we often celebrate this time of the year by preparing sumptuous goods that everyone enjoys.
But the feast shouldn’t be a reason to forget that we also have to be careful with the food we eat, especially for children. This will help prevent problems relating to dental health. For sure, dealing with dental-related problems can spoil a happy gathering.
Below are some useful tips to help you, as parents, prevent any dental-related problems.
Drink plenty of water, particularly when eating sweet foods. This will help eliminate food particles that get stuck between your teeth and prevent buildup of plaque. Furthermore, drinking water can help stimulate saliva production that help fight dental cavities. Compared to soda and juices, water is still the best fluid to drink.
Avoid sticky foods
Foods that are too acidic, sweet and sticky can cause immense harm to the teeth. This type of foods can create an ideal place for bacteria to destroy tooth enamel and infect the gums. If you cannot avoid eating these foods, be sure to wash your mouth with water after eating them, or brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming those foods to eliminate any debris.
Avoid eating or snacking too frequently
The company of loved ones and friends can be very enjoyable, with all the chitchatting and drinking. With this, you may not avoid having continuous snacking or eating. But beware. The reason is that since you keep on exposing your teeth to acids present in food, it may cause bacteria to build up in the mouth, causing cavities.
Be sure to brush and floss
When visiting a friend or loved one for a gathering, make sure to bring your toothbrush and dental floss with you to make sure you and your child maintain optimal oral health. Remember that it’s necessary to be diligent on your dental hygiene, especially during celebrations such as Thanksgiving. You can also bring Xylitol, a sugarless gum and chew this after eating a meal. Sugar-free gums can eliminate food debris left on your teeth and help with digestion by stimulating saliva production.
After the gathering, visit your dentist
Holidays and other celebrations are the best times of the year, yet these are the times when people experience more dental-related problems. If you are concerned about dental cavities and gum problems, consider seeing your dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will check your mouth and do professional cleaning to make sure plaque buildup and other dental issues will be addressed. This will also help avoid further dental complications from happening in the future.
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