At Medplex Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to provide high-quality dental care to children throughout the Birmingham, AL area. Dr. Chambliss and our team of highly trained pediatric dental specialists work hard to treat every patient on an individual level, and we have the knowledge and experience to make every visit to our office a pleasant experience for all involved.
How Baby Teeth Help Permanent Teeth
While they may be called "baby" teeth, your child's teeth have some important responsibilities. Baby teeth help children learn to speak, chew, swallow, and even breathe, and they're also critical for holding space open for adult teeth and guiding them into place. Sometimes, though, that function can be put into jeopardy.
Occasionally, injury, disease, or trauma can cause a baby tooth to fall out prematurely. Many think that because the tooth would fall out anyways, this isn't a big problem - but when baby teeth fall out, the permanent teeth that come in on either side of the lost tooth can drift towards the middle. This can cause problems in the alignment of the teeth or even block a tooth entirely, resulting in crooked, overcrowded teeth.
The Importance of Space Maintainers
Thankfully, there is a solution if your child loses a baby tooth prematurely. We can use a dental appliance called a space maintainer to hold open the space that the baby tooth leaves behind, protecting a space for the permanent tooth to erupt and preserving the alignment of the teeth. Space maintainers can be fixed - meaning they're cemented to the teeth - or removable depending on what you and Dr. Chambliss decide is best for your child.
Fixed space maintainers are often preferable for younger children, as they're more difficult to fidget with and sit more securely in the mouth. Removable space maintainers can be made to look like a false tooth, which helps if the lost tooth was highly visible, and are more suitable for older children who can handle the responsibility of caring for it.
No matter what type we choose to use, we'll take impressions of your child's mouth and custom-make a space maintainer to fit their unique smile. We'll keep the space maintainer in until x-rays show that the tooth underneath is ready to erupt, at which point we'll remove the space maintainer, allowing the new tooth to come in safely, naturally, and properly aligned.
Contact Medplex Pediatric Dentistry
If you have more questions about pediatric dental care or think your child may need a space maintainer, we're here to help. Feel free to call us at 205-453-0314, learn more on our FAQ page, or schedule an appointment online at our Birmingham, AL office. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping your child develop a healthy, beautiful smile!