Baby Tooth Loss and Dental Spacing

One major reason to take proper care of baby teeth is to ensure that the permanent teeth have proper spacing in which to grow. In the event of early baby tooth loss, it's important to maintain correct spacing around the gap so the permanent teeth develop correctly.

Early Baby Tooth Loss

Typically, a baby tooth does not loosen and fall out until the permanent tooth is ready to grow in. However, this is not always the case, especially in the event of a knocked out tooth, or if decay warrants the early removal of a tooth. Fortunately, a pediatric dentist can preserve the natural and correct spacing of a child's teeth following early baby tooth loss to support the proper healthy growth of permanent teeth.

How is Dental Spacing Maintained?

Early baby tooth loss requires space maintenance by a pediatric dentist. Commonly, the dentist will provide a child with a space maintainer to achieve correct dental positioning until the permanent tooth grows in. Space maintainers are common, inconspicuous, and well-tolerated. Made of metal or plastic, a space maintainer is customized to a child's mouth to prevent teeth from drifting into the gap left by the early baby tooth loss. Such drifting could result in crowded, crooked permanent teeth, which can necessitate painful and expensive orthodontic treatment down the line.

A space maintainer requires some special home care. First, it is important that a child refrains from chewing gum or sticky candies, and avoids playing with the space maintainer with their fingers or tongue. Daily brushing, flossing, and cleaning of the space maintainer will support its durability and function until the permanent teeth come in.

Maintaining proper dental spacing following early baby tooth loss is critical for the development of healthy permanent teeth, along with avoiding expensive and complicated orthodontic treatment later in childhood. Proper home care and regular checkups with a pediatric dentist can ensure that space maintainers are effective in providing a child with the very best structural support for healthy permanent teeth.