When baby teeth are lost early, “space maintainers” come to the rescue!

Space maintainers present a relatively simple solution for a big problem: damage to the baby’s teeth. Ideally, the friendly and kind team at Groat Pediatric Dentistry monitors these primary teeth early and often. That way, we can detect problems early and intervene quickly before damage occurs. 

However, we understand that not all dental damage can be avoided and that each patient has a unique dental background. Some children will just be starting their relationship with our dental home in San Pedro, California. They may already have damage that could threaten the teeth. In these cases, we may be able to save the tooth with a pulpotomy or other restorative dental care. 

Space maintainers come into play when a tooth is “too far gone” or in the event of an accident (such as a knocked-out tooth). These small appliances may be just what Dr. Christopher Groat orders when the tooth cannot be saved or “re-rooted” with other procedures and measures.

Why baby teeth matter so much

Just because teeth are not permanent does not mean they do not serve a vital function, especially in early childhood when your child’s jaws, mouth, and face develop. To support healthy development during these pivotal growth stages, we want to prevent damage to the baby’s teeth or resolve it promptly. That way, the primary teeth can “do their jobs,” and these very important functions include:

  • Reserving space for the bigger, permanent teeth that start to come in around the age of 6
  • Providing structural support to your child’s developing face
  • Promoting a balanced, attractive appearance and the self-confidence that accompanies this feature
  • Preventing misaligned teeth and bite balances by helping to guide the secondary teeth into their correct places
  • Avoiding the natural drift that occurs when teeth fall out or are removed prematurely as their neighbors move toward the empty space
  • Facilitating correct pronunciation and clear speech 
  • Encouraging proper development of interconnected tissues and structures in the jaw and face
  • Aiding in a healthy, nutritious, and diverse diet during these pivotal, early years 

With these unobtrusive space maintainers or devices, we can also prevent the need for more complex orthodontic treatment later in life. These appliances have numerous designs and come in a variety of different types. The specific maintainer of choice to “hold the space” until the secondary teeth come in depends on your child’s needs, such as where the missing tooth is located. 

Regardless of their unique design or form, know that all space maintainers at Groat Pediatric Dentistry are fitted precisely and adjusted accordingly for utmost comfort and easy wear. We are happy to discuss the many options to stay ahead of potential damage and complications at our office in San Pedro, CA. Call (310) 832-5133 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Groat today.