The Importance of Baby Teeth and Space Maintainers
Normally, as a permanent tooth comes in under a baby tooth, the roots of the baby tooth dissolve away, and the permanent tooth replaces the baby tooth. In addition to being important for chewing, the baby tooth holds the adjacent teeth in place. When a baby tooth is lost early due to decay or injury, the adjacent teeth may drift together, causing loss of space in the dental arch.
This shifting and loss of arch space can be prevented by placing a space maintainer to allow room for the permanent tooth to erupt. Arlington Smile Center normally makes the space maintainer for each patient at the same appointment when the tooth is extracted. This is a great benefit because it allows parents and child to not have to return for a later appointment to cement the space maintainer.
The space maintainer remains until the permanent tooth begins to break through the gums. While wearing a space maintainer, it is important to avoid chewing gum, sticky candies, and hard foods like Corn Nuts or ice. Following up with periodic checks of the space maintainer here in our office will make sure it’s still functioning properly and keeping all the teeth in their proper positions.