Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage for every child. For parents, it can be bittersweet to see that first lost tooth under their child’s pillow in anticipation of a visit from the tooth fairy, and it’s a celebration in many homes.  Yet, not every baby tooth is jostled loose at the right time.

Some children lose their baby teeth before their adult teeth are ready to grow. This can happen as the result of an injury or tooth decay.  Regardless, in an effort to fill in the gap, the child’s mouth will shift the surrounding teeth closer to the hole left by the missing tooth. Aesthetically, this leaves children with a crooked smile, but it also changes the shape of their jaws and mouths and can cause costly problems.

Luckily, dental medicine has a solution. Space maintainers serve as temporary placements to fill the gap while an adult tooth works its way to the surface. The placement and usage of a maintainer for your child depends on their age, the presence and placement of existing teeth, and how developed the adult tooth is prior to eruption.

Fixed maintainers are ideal for young children or those who cannot properly care for the maintainer. There are also four variations of fixed maintainer appliances.  Your child’s dentist will recommend a fixed maintainer depending on the location of the lost tooth, the composition of your child’s mouth, and your child’s age.

Yet, for all the good space maintainers can offer, many parents believe it is an unnecessary cost. Typically, space maintainers cost a few hundred dollars, and some insurance providers only partially pay for the appliance. But opting to roll the dice and not use a space maintainer could cost your family thousands of dollars for future orthodontic care. As the teeth and mouth shift, care becomes more expensive and time-consuming.

When your child loses a tooth, inquire about space maintainers with our dental professionals. We can give your family the best treatment plan for the integrity of your child’s mouth and protect that smile you love so much.

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