According to the ADA, most children will have their completed sets of baby teeth by the time they are three years old. These teeth will help them eat solid food types and serve as placeholders for their adult teeth when they come in. When baby teeth happen to be lost before they’re supposed to be, or adult teeth are latecomers, dentists might recommend that your child have space maintainers to help support your child’s mouth while waiting for the gaps to be filled by the permanent teeth.
Your child might lose his baby teeth early for many reasons. Some may experience a traumatic injury to their mouth. This can come from being hit in the face or tripping. Others might get early onset childhood cavities, sometimes known as the baby bottle tooth decay. This can happen when your baby falls asleep while drinking from the breast or bottle, or from using a bottle straight for a long length of time. Milk is sugary, and this can cause enamel decay, which results in tooth loss. Sometimes teeth are missing from a genetic condition.
No matter what reason your child might have for missing baby teeth, it’s very important that you consider getting them space maintainers in order to make sure they develop their permanent teeth in the right places. If a baby tooth is missing for a long time, your child may risk other teeth becoming looser due to insufficient support. This will affect the permanent teeth when they begin erupting because they’ll be guided to the wrong areas. If they lose their baby teeth shortly before the permanent ones come in, it probably won’t be necessary to get space maintainers. If they’re away for a long time, though, contact your dentist to see if they might need these appliances.
It will take some time for your child to get used to wearing a device in their mouth. During this time, though, your dentist should be keeping an eye on their oral hygiene, on their jaw’s growth, and the progression of their adult teeth. The maintainer will need to be adjusted periodically and will require immediate attention if it becomes damaged.