Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
How Space Maintainers Get Patients Ready For Braces
Space maintainers can be a simple and essential tool to ensure that your child is ready for braces when the time comes. It's not always common knowledge that baby teeth are not only a tool for young ones to learn to eat and enjoy life; they also serve as placeholders for adult teeth. When baby teeth are lost prematurely, teeth can shift, creating an issue when adult teeth begin to grow in.
While this shift will not happen overnight, if shifting goes unnoticed, it can cause issues when adult teeth grow in, and a child is ready to receive braces. Having a conversation with your orthodontist about whether space maintainers are needed can help avoid complications in the future when it's time for your child to begin teeth straightening treatment. Ultimately. having this discussion now could prevent more issues in the future.
How space maintainers work
These are simple tool that prevents teeth from shifting when a baby tooth is lost prematurely due to natural causes or sudden impact from sports, playing, or an accident. There are two types, and your orthodontist will be able to decide which is best for your child based on a variety of factors, including age and location of the gap. The first type is a fixed maintainer, which is cemented in place and cannot be easily removed. The second is a removable maintainer, which is typically made from acrylic and can be removed easily from the mouth.
In some instances, it may be a better choice to have a fixed maintainer simply because it will remain in place. This is especially convenient for younger children who may be more likely to knock the maintainer out of place. However, your orthodontist will ultimately determine which option is right for you. There are benefits to each type, and your orthodontist will be able to guide you towards the best type for your child's issue.
Maintainers are low maintenance and don't require regular check-ups, and are typically removed when your child can begin to feel their new adult tooth poking through the gum. At that point, your orthodontist will advise the next best steps to ensure your child's maintainer is removed at the proper time. They don't require additional care aside from the everyday brushing and flossing that promotes good oral health. Essentially, you care for them just as you would your regular teeth.
Space maintainers and braces
This device prepares a child's mouth for braces by ensuring that adult teeth have the proper spacing to grow in allowing for braces to solve issues of misalignment and under or overbites. This can allow a less invasive and shorter use of braces and should be part of your orthodontic treatment plan.
Your orthodontist will take an x-ray of your child's teeth to determine if their growth patterns will require prior to the beginning of their treatment with braces. It is also a great resource for children who lose teeth due to an accident or other incident that may have a lasting impact on the shape and growth patterns of their teeth.
Of course, you want your child to have the best chance at a healthy smile, so it's critical that you address the need for space maintainers as soon as possible. It's always better to reach out and it be nothing than to ignore an issue that should be remedied right away. You can do this by regularly going to your dentist and reaching out to them if your child has any dental changes. Don't put off addressing problems as it could likely lead to other concerns in the future.
Learn more about your options from your orthodontist
While it may not be needed for all children who require braces, it's important to have a conversation with your orthodontist to ensure that any premature loss of a baby tooth is treated properly for your child's mouth and planned treatment. If you are uncertain about the condition of your child's teeth, or what you should do, always rely on a professional to guide you toward the right decision. If needed, they can provide a much-needed service that will allow for a healthy smile and reduce the pain and timing of braces. Reach out to your orthodontist today to learn more about the options available to your child.
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