Orthodontic care proves to be a challenge, especially when we are working with teeth that have not yet erupted. However, we can still achieve the goals of a straighter smile by keeping the spaces open for the teeth to come in.
How We Straighten Teeth that Are Still Developing
To keep spaces open for the erupting teeth during orthodontic care, we use orthodontic aids, called space maintainers, which are an important part of a child’s long-term dental health. For our patients with developing teeth, orthodontics may take place in one of 3 stages. Stage 1 orthodontics, or early treatment, covers the orthodontic needs of patients 2 to 6 years old. During this stage, we will check on the premature loss of baby teeth and how it affects the bite. Stage 2 orthodontics, which covers care for 6- to 12-year-old patients, involves the eruption of teeth, such as the 6-year molars and front teeth. At this stage, we need to focus on possible bite problems or alignment difficulties. During the first 2 stages, we may need to use space maintainers to correct crowding or problems with the patient’s bite. Doing so at this time works out well because of the responsiveness of the mouth’s soft and hard tissues to straightening. By the third stage, orthodontic treatment covers the permanent teeth and any associated difficulties with the bite.
Using Space Maintainers
When we use space maintainers during either phase 1 or 2 of orthodontic therapy, it is to prevent tooth crowding or difficulties with speaking or chewing. For example, if your child loses a baby tooth early, we can use a space maintainer to prevent the other teeth from shifting into the open space. Therefore, a space maintainer is used to hold the spot that the lost tooth left until the permanent tooth can come through. A space maintainer may be a temporary crown that is affixed to one side of the gap, or a band. When the permanent tooth emerges, we will remove the crown or band. The earlier your child receives orthodontic care, the better. Give us a call to arrange an orthodontic appointment for your child today.