Orthodontic Space Maintenance
Your child develops a total of 20 baby teeth. While these teeth are only temporary, and begin to fall out around the age of 5 or 6 to be replaced with permanent teeth, they are essential. These teeth allow your child to enjoy a wide variety of different foods. They help your child to develop proper speech patterns. They give your child their adorable grin. The baby teeth are also important for holding space for the adult teeth. Losing baby teeth prematurely can cause serious orthodontic complications. T-Town Smiles can help with orthodontic space maintainers.
The Importance of Maintaining Space
While the baby teeth fall out eventually on their own, having them fall out prematurely can cause significant problems. One of these problems is that the surrounding baby teeth can begin to shift out of proper alignment. When this happens, the teeth block the space, preventing proper eruption of the baby tooth underneath. If the adult teeth on either side of the empty space erupt first, they may come in crooked. In some cases, the adult tooth underneath the empty space may be completely blocked from erupting at all. These issues can result in crooked teeth or overcrowding, and the need for orthodontic treatment later on.
What is a Space Maintainer?
Much like the name suggests, a space maintainer is a device that is specifically designed to hold the empty space left behind by a missing baby tooth. These devices are typically made from stainless steel, plastic, or a combination of the two. While a space maintainer may remain in place for a while, it is only a temporary device. The goal of the space maintainer is to aid in the proper development of the adult teeth. This helps to prevent potential orthodontic issues and the need for later treatment.
Types of Space Maintainers
There are a few different types of space maintainers available. Common types include:
- Fixed: This is the most common type of space maintainer. There are a few ways in which the maintainer can be fixed. A band and loop space maintainer uses a wire to hold the device in place on an adjacent tooth. There is also a distal shoe, which is inserted under the gums. This device may be used to hold the space for the first molar.
- Removable: A removable space maintainer is similar in appearance to a retainer. This type of space maintainer is often used to hold the space for visible teeth and is made with a false tooth that sits in the empty space. It is typically recommended for older children.
- Lingual arch: This type of space maintainer is used when teeth are missing from the back of each side of the lower jaw. A wire is attached to bands, which function as anchors to hold the device in place. The wire runs along the backside of the teeth so that no one will be able to see it when your child smiles.
If your child has lost a baby tooth prematurely, a space maintainer can help to hold the space necessary for the permanent teeth when they are ready to erupt. For more information, and to schedule an appointment, contact T-Town Smiles at 918-488-9770 today.
Accepting New Patients
Looking for a full-service dentist in Tulsa?
At the office of Dr. Scott Street, we offer stress-free family care using modern technology and an old-fashioned personal approach. We provide a full selection of dental treatments, from routine cleanings to top-quality dental restorations. If you are looking for a full-service family dentist in Tulsa, OK, call us today at 918-481-4922 or use our online Appointment Request form.
Suite 1107 (11th Floor)
Tulsa, OK 74136
Tuesday 8am - 5pm
Wednesday 8am - 5pm
Thursday 8am - 5pm
Friday 8am - 5pm
Additional times are available.
Dr. Scott Street and the team at T-Town Smiles are proud to be the local Tulsa Dentist serving families in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Oakhurst, Bixby, Glenpool and surrounding Tulsa communities.