The loss of a baby tooth before the permanent one is ready to grow in could cause future dental problems for your child. A baby tooth not only helps your children chew food while they are young, but the teeth also preserve the pathway the permanent teeth follow through the gums as they grow in. The pathway can be interrupted by surrounding teeth moving into the space vacated by the missing tooth or teeth. Other teeth moving into the vacated space can force the permanent ones to grow in crooked. One way to keep the empty space between the teeth open is to use a lower lingual arch space maintainer. Here is an overview of how your child's dentist can install a lower lingual arch space maintainer to keep the pathway open for the permanent teeth.
The first thing a dentist will do is take a mold of your child's teeth. The dentist will use the mold to build a lower lingual arch space maintainer that will fit perfectly into your child's mouth.
Lingual Arch Space Maintainer
The lingual arch space maintainer is made using stainless steel. At both ends of the space maintainer is a band that fits over the molars. A stainless steel wire is welded to the bands. The wire is curved and it presses against the inside of the teeth to keep them from moving into the space vacated by the missing tooth.
Installing A Space Maintainer
The bands on the lingual arch space maintainer are glued to the molars to keep it from falling out of your child's mouth. The dentist will first set the space maintainer into the mouth to make sure it fits correctly. The dentist should be able to make any necessary adjustments to the space maintainer on-site. The bands are cemented to the teeth once the space maintainer fits properly.
Zinc phosphate or glass ionomer cement is usually used for this procedure. The cement is applied to the inside of the bands. The cement works better when the teeth getting the bands are dry when the cement is applied. The dentist will normally place gauze around the molars to soak up saliva in the mouth and keep the teeth dry. The space maintainer is carefully set in the mouth so the bands slide over the molars and the wire is set right against the inside of the teeth. The cement is quick drying and your child will be able to talk and eat normally within a few minutes after the space maintainer has been applied.
For more information about this procedure or other problems with your child's teeth, talk with a local dentist, such as those at Image Dentistry.