Losing a baby tooth is a big deal — especially for a child. Getting that first adult tooth is one of the earliest signs of “growing up,” and the gap that’s left can be a big source of pride for lots of kids.
Most kids lose that first tooth by age six, with remaining baby teeth falling out by age 12. But sometimes, a tooth falls out early — naturally, as a result of trauma, or from decay — and that can cause problems.
Fortunately, space maintainers can help. At Dental Kidz Club, our team of experienced pediatric dentists uses space maintainers to promote optimal spacing and jaw development when baby teeth fall out too early. Here’s how they work.
Baby teeth: Timing counts
It might seem like your child’s baby teeth fall out in a random way. But actually, teeth tend to follow a pretty strict schedule.
Lower and upper central incisors (the frontmost teeth) are first to be shed between 6-8 years. Next up are the lateral incisors, the teeth next to the front teeth, by age 9 or so. The canines, bicuspids, and molars are all shed between 9-12 years of age. This chart from the American Dental Association is a good visual reference.
Baby teeth aren’t just there for chewing and talking (although they play important roles in both activities). They also serve as placeholders, saving room for the adult teeth when they’re ready to emerge. If a baby tooth comes out early, before the adult tooth is ready to erupt, other teeth can “move in,” causing crowding and alignment problems.
Space maintainers to the rescue
Space maintainers do just what their name says — they work to maintain the space left by one or more teeth that fall out early. With space maintainers, our team can help ensure your child’s adult teeth emerge correctly, reducing the risk of overcrowding and other eruption problems, like sideways eruption.
Space maintainers come in different shapes and styles, depending on which tooth is missing and other factors. Some space maintainers are removable, while some are fixed throughout the duration of use. Removable space maintainers are typically used in older children, while younger children benefit from fixed devices that can only be removed or adjusted by our team.
Space maintainers are often used as part of what’s called “interventional orthodontics.” By intervening in your child’s oral growth and development early, space maintainers could help your child avoid extensive orthodontic care during their teens or preteens.
Dental care for your child’s unique needs
The team at Dental Kidz Club knows that every child is different, and so are their oral health needs. Our team is dedicated to offering customized treatment for kids of all ages to help each child enjoy a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles.
To learn more about space maintainers at our practices in Brea, Corona, Covina, Riverside, Ontario, and Perris, California, call or book an appointment online today.