Baby teeth (also called primary teeth) are meant to fall out, so why worry if it happens due to an unexpected event? That’s because there’s a reason primary teeth fall out on their own: to make room for permanent, adult teeth.
When a child loses a baby tooth due to an accident or decay, their adult tooth isn’t ready to come in yet, causing a gap in their smile. To make sure space is left for that future adult tooth, our pediatric dentist in Watauga, TX, can use tools like space maintainers. Learn why preserving that gap is important.
Why Is Early Loss of Primary Teeth a Big Deal?
Children who lose a primary tooth before the age of six can face future dental problems. This is because the surrounding teeth may shift and block where the permanent tooth is meant to come in. The result is crowded or crooked teeth.
Why worry about crooked teeth? Our concern at Aviator Pediatric Dentistry isn’t just aesthetics. Having a crowded smile can cause problems with:
- Flossing: It’s harder to fit floss between teeth that are tightly packed together.
- Misaligned Bite: Shifting teeth can change where a smile fits together.
- Speech Development: Teeth placement is an important part of making sounds.
- Chewing: Bite and spacing problems make it harder to eat.
These problems, in turn, cause other concerns. Difficulty flossing and brushing puts your child at risk of cavities and gum disease. A misaligned bite can cause tooth and jaw pain and wear down enamel where the teeth are hitting together. You also want your child to be able to speak and chew without difficulty.
What Causes Unexpected Baby Tooth Loss?
Some of the common reasons we see at Aviator for the early loss of primary teeth are:
- Tooth Decay: This includes cavities, chips, or cracks.
- Trauma or Injury: Examples include accidents or losing a tooth while playing.
- Congenital Absence: Some children are born without a primary tooth.
Once our Watauga dentist has treated any underlying issues, we turn to a form of early orthodontic intervention called space maintainers to protect the gap where the adult teeth will eventually emerge.
What Are Space Maintainers?
As the name suggests, a space maintainer is a dental appliance used to hold the space for a permanent tooth. Space maintainers generally consist of a metal loop that sits in the gap, keeping the area open for the adult tooth to erupt. In many cases, the loop is attached to a neighboring tooth with a metal crown or a wire that wraps around the tooth.
There are other options as well, depending on which tooth your child lost. We can go over these at their appointment.
Protect Your Child’s Smile with a Space Maintainer
By taking steps immediately after the premature loss of a baby tooth, you can save your family time, money, and stress. Space maintainers are simple, affordable, and can prevent the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment down the line. If your child lost a tooth and they’re under the age of six, contact Aviator Pediatric Dentistry to get help from our dentist in Watauga, TX.