Space maintainer for children's mouths
For some children, adult teeth may be slow to come through or may be absent. This can be due to genetic issues which can lead to missing teeth or the teeth being lost because of an accident. Here are some reasons you might want to consider a space maintainer.
Maintain space for the adult teeth to come through
If your child has a very overcrowded jaw, they may lose a baby tooth, but this may not leave enough room for the adult tooth to come through. If the space can be maintained, then as the jaw grows the adult tooth may have space to descend. If a space maintainer is not put in and the mouth is overcrowded, the teeth on both sides may start to grow into the gap, and this can lead to the child being in a lot of discomfort as the adult tooth tries to descend.
Maintain space for dental implants
Placing dental implants is quite a significant surgery and generally not recommended for children. However, if a tooth (or multiple teeth) is missing, a child may like to have the gap filled in later in life with a dental implant. The procedure is relatively simple where there is a gap for the implant to be inserted, but it can be more tricky if the surrounding teeth have angled inwards. Depending on the location of the missing teeth and reason for the teeth not being there, the children may either use a bridge or space maintainer until they are old enough for a more permanent solution.
Maintain overall bite integrity
When a tooth or multiple teeth are lost, the way that the upper and lower jaw interact can be affected, as they may no longer mesh correctly. Over time the pressure from the jaw during normal activities such as eating and chewing can place significant horizontal pressure on the teeth, which can lead to premature loosening of these teeth. Space maintainers provide some structural integrity to preserve the condition of the teeth on each side of the gap. This leads to a more comfortable experience for the child and minimises further damage.
If your child needs a space maintainer, it is very important for them to be regularly reviewed by an experienced orthodontist. It is very important for the space maintainer to be kept clean and regularly adjusted as the child grows in order for it to be effective. A well-placed space maintainer in a child's mouth can prevent more extensive orthodontics later in life.