Space maintenance is a preventive treatment method used in pediatric dentistry to keep the space open for permanent teeth to grow in correctly when a child loses a baby tooth prematurely. This technique is vital because if the space isn't preserved, other teeth may drift or tilt into the empty spot, causing issues with alignment when the permanent tooth tries to erupt. Space maintainers are custom-made dental appliances that can be either removable or cemented in a child's mouth. They are unobtrusive, comfortable, and play a crucial role in maintaining a child's dental health and the proper development of their permanent teeth.
Why Should I Get Space Maintenance?
The loss of a baby tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt can lead to significant dental problems. This is where space maintenance comes into play. If the space left by the lost tooth is not preserved, the nearby teeth may shift into the gap, leading to crowding or misalignment when the permanent tooth tries to come in. This could result in the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in the future. By opting for space maintenance, you're taking a proactive step in ensuring your child's dental health, potentially saving time, discomfort, and expense down the line.
The Benefits Of Space Maintenance
Space maintainers are designed to hold the space left by a lost tooth, preventing adjacent teeth from drifting into the empty space. This helps ensure that permanent teeth have enough room to erupt in the right position, reducing the chances of misalignment and the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in the future.
Promotes Proper Jaw Development
Space maintenance not only preserves space for incoming permanent teeth but also aids in the proper development of the jaw. The presence of a space maintainer can help guide the growth of the jaw, ensuring that it develops correctly to accommodate all of the permanent teeth.
Minimizes Future Dental Issues
By ensuring that permanent teeth erupt in their correct positions, space maintenance can minimize the risk of future dental issues such as crowding, impacted teeth, or improper bite. This can save your child from potential discomfort and you from additional dental expenses.
The Space Maintenance Treatment Process
Assessment and Planning
The first step in the space maintenance process is a thorough dental examination by a Louisville orthodontist to assess the need for a space maintainer. This involves taking X-rays to determine the status of the underlying permanent teeth. Based on this assessment, Dr. Chandiramani will create a personalized treatment plan for your child.
Creating the Space Maintainer
The next step is the creation of the space maintainer. Impressions of your child's mouth are taken, which are then sent to a dental lab where the custom space maintainer is crafted. The device is designed to fit comfortably in your child's mouth while effectively holding the space open for the incoming permanent tooth.
Placement and Adjustment
Once the space maintainer is ready, it is cemented or clipped into place in your child's mouth. Dr. Chandiramani will ensure it fits correctly and make any necessary adjustments. Your child will then be given instructions on how to care for the space maintainer and what foods to avoid. Regular check-ups will be scheduled to monitor the progress and make any adjustments as needed.