Pediatric dentistry takes a holistic approach to ensuring the oral health of young patients. An important aspect of this approach involves providing guidance to parents.Infants and toddlers cannot take care of their teeth without help. They rely on their parents for oral hygiene. As they grow, children also need their parents to teach and enforce…
Pediatric Dentistry: What Are Spacers for Primary Teeth?
One of the more common treatments pediatric dentistry offices offer for children who have lost a baby tooth prematurely are spacers. These appliances can play an essential role in maintaining proper space between teeth. It is important for parents to understand what spacers for primary teeth are and when a pediatric dentist may recommend them.
Pediatric dentistry and spacers
If a child has lost a primary or baby tooth too soon, then they may need spacers to keep adjacent teeth from shifting to fill the gap. The following is everything to know about spacers for primary teeth, including what they are, when they are needed and why pediatric dentistry professionals feel they are important.
What are spacers for primary teeth?
Spacers, or space maintainers, are pediatric dentistry appliances that are designed to prevent teeth shifting after a primary tooth falls out too soon. In other words, spacers are essentially placeholders. They hold the place of the lost primary tooth until the permanent teeth are ready to come in.
The main type of spacer for primary teeth is referred to as a fixed space maintainer. These dental appliances are attached to the adjacent teeth and not removable. Removable space maintainers, which are similar to a retainer, may also be an option, but they are not ideal for younger children.
When are spacers for primary teeth needed?
Children who lose a primary tooth too soon often need a spacer. The reason for this is because the adjacent teeth may shift to fill the void, which can cause issues with the way the permanent tooth grows in. Of course, a primary tooth that comes out naturally between the ages of six through twelve is not a concern as long as the permanent teeth come through soon after. However, baby teeth that fall out as a result of a cavity, dental trauma or another concern may require spacers.
Are spacers for primary teeth important?
Spacers play an important role in preventing teeth shifting if a primary tooth comes out too soon. In many instances, without spacers, premature loss of a baby tooth can lead to teeth shifting. When baby teeth shift to fill a hole left by a missing tooth, permanent teeth are not given the appropriate spacing to come through straight. This may lead to crooked or overcrowded teeth, which can later require more extensive orthodontic treatment.
How can parents care for children's spacers?
Spacers are vulnerable to becoming loose or damaged if they are not cared for properly. If your child has spacers, talk to them about the importance of not chewing gum or sticky candy as it may pull on the spacer. Children with spacers also need to brush regularly and make all scheduled pediatric dentistry visits.
Talk to a pediatric dentistry office today
Learn more about spacers for primary teeth and how they can help keep the proper spacing of primary teeth after tooth loss. Get in touch with our team via phone or email today and arrange a time for a pediatric dentistry visit.
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