shirley space maintainerWhen children lose baby teeth early, this could mean more than just a gap in the smile. This could cause teeth to drift, and complicate how the permanent teeth arrive. To prevent the onset of dental misalignment, your Shirley, TX, pediatric dentist and orthodontist talks about the use of space maintainers.

The Causes of Dental Misalignment

For children, the primary teeth will arrive and then gradually fall out as they grow up. When they’re lost, the remaining teeth on either side help guide the permanent tooth in its proper position. However, if kids lose teeth early to issues like tooth decay or infection, then this alters how the permanent teeth arrive. The ones on each side could drift from position, and the permanent teeth could become impacted or erupt out of position, causing dental misalignment. Fortunately, we can use a space maintainer to help prevent this from occurring, and limit the risk of major misalignment.

The Space Maintainer

A space maintainer is essentially an oral appliance that is worn in the mouth to keep the gap open and clear where a tooth has become lost, so the adjacent ones don’t shift and the permanent ones can erupt without complication. The device could be unilateral or bilateral, attached to one side or both sides of the mouth. They could also be fixed or removable. We tend to prefer fixed, as removable ones could become lost if your child removes them. Our team will recommend a visit every six months to monitor the smile and make sure primary teeth are falling out and permanent ones are arriving as they should.

Completing Orthodontic Treatment

During treatment, your kids will need to either remove the space maintainer for soaking or cleaning, or they will need to thoroughly brush and floss around them. We don’t want trapped food particles to increase the risk of tooth decay and gingivitis during treatment. Once this first phase of treatment ends and the permanent teeth erupt and their surface calcifies, we can discuss the next steps. If your child still has misalignment, we could recommend braces or possibly Invisalign® aligners to gently shift them and complete the process, so they greet adulthood with an even and beautiful smile.

If you have any questions about space maintainers, or about our approach to phased orthodontic treatment for kids, then contact our team today to learn more. We want to help your kids obtain smiles that make them feel confident!

Your Shirley, NY, Orthodontist and Pediatric Dentist Offers Children’s Orthodontics

Our team is ready to help your kids enjoy optimal oral health by addressing poor alignment. To learn more about limiting the risk of misalignment in little smiles, then contact Shirley Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in Shirley, NY, by calling (631) 399-1600.