Losing teeth is part of growing up. Most of the time, teeth come out when they’re supposed to, and are replaced in a timely manner by their permanent counterparts. Sometimes though, teeth are lost earlier than normal, due to trauma or tooth decay. Even though it’s normal for a child to be seen with missing teeth, it’s not normal for a permanent tooth to loose it’s primary partner earlier than needed. In fact, premature tooth loss can interfere with eruption patterns not only of one tooth, but multiple teeth. Adjacent teeth can slightly shift into the space, blocking the other tooth from coming in, and also misguiding their own permanent replacements underneath.
Thankfully there’s a way to help prevent misalignment complications like crowding when a tooth is lost too early, and that’s by using a space maintenance device. Sometimes these are referred to as interceptive orthodontic appliances, because they affect the position of the teeth. Small space maintainers are easily put in place to help hold areas open, allowing the permanent tooth to come in correctly and without complication. Once the permanent tooth begins to erupt, the small device can be removed. One example of such a device is a “band and loop” that is essentially a thin belt placed around a tooth, with a wire loop extending out the side of it to hold any teeth back out of the open area that it covers.
Placing space maintainers is very easy to do, and does not require any anesthetic. Deciding to take this step can save lots of time and money later on when it comes to orthodontic needs.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck, DMD, MS, PC
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