When baby teeth become badly damaged from decay or injury, they may need to be extracted. Once extracted, a space maintainer will keep the gap from closing between adjacent teeth.
We offer other treatment options to maintain oral hygiene as well. Extractions remove badly damaged teeth that have been affected by decay, infection, or injury. Space maintainers keep the gap between teeth open so that adult teeth have enough room to emerge if a baby tooth is lost or extracted prematurely.
We specialize in treating all possible aspects of oral hygiene. The extra treatments we offer target specific areas that are vulnerable, such as damaged teeth and missing teeth, misaligned teeth, and damage gums. We work to protect the gums and even teeth that haven’t come out yet.
If a primary tooth becomes badly damaged, it may be better in the long run to remove it entirely, rather than trying to repair it. Extractions can be completed in a single visit, and will remove any discomfort caused by excessive pain or an abscess in the tooth.
Extractions are the process of removing an entire tooth from the gums, rather than trying to repair the tooth from the inside, such as with a pulpotomy or pulpectomy. Though extractions are generally not recommended for primary teeth, there are a few possible reasons to consider having an extraction performed:
- Excessive decay has damaged much of the crown of the tooth
- An abscess (pocket of infected tissue) has formed in or around the tooth
- The teeth are beginning to get overcrowded from shifting
- Excessive pain when biting, or pain that wakes a child up at night
Whatever the reason is for extracting, the process is fairly simple. In fact, the process is typically easier for extracting primary teeth than it is for extracting adult teeth. As with any dental procedure, we use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area before removing it. This helps reduce or eliminate any discomfort that would otherwise be felt during the procedure. Your child may still feel some pressure as we work on removing the tooth, but there shouldn’t be any pain. If needed, we can also administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to your child to help keep them calm and relaxed during the procedure.
Once the extraction is completed, the best thing for your child to do is to go home and rest. The anesthetic will wear off shortly after the procedure is complete, but disorientation could remain for a little while. The extraction process doesn’t take very long, nor does it require a second visit, unless the use of a space maintainer is required.
Gaps left by primary teeth need to be preserved so permanent teeth can emerge properly aligned. These gaps are caused by a tooth being knocked out or extracted prematurely, and the gap can be maintained using a space maintainer made from an orthodontic band and metal wire.
When a primary tooth gets knocked out or is extracted prematurely, a space maintainer may be necessary to prevent the other teeth from crowding up the gap left behind. When there is a gap present between teeth, they may shift, trying to close the gap on their own. This can be especially bad if the adult tooth that would fill that gap hasn’t erupted from the gums yet.
Space maintainers are created from metal wire and usually take two visits to install.
- First Visit – Dental Impression
We place an orthodontic band around a nearby tooth, then create a dental impression of your child’s mouth to map out the exact location where the maintainer will be placed. From that impression, our Houston orthodontist lab creates a maintainer designed to fit perfectly within the gap left by the removed tooth.
- Second Visit – Placement of Space Maintainer
The space maintainer will be placed, so that the metal wire sits between teeth adjacent to the gap, pushing on them gently so the teeth don’t shift position. When installing the space maintainer, anesthetics are very rarely used. The process is generally painless, aside from perhaps a slight pressure where the wire contacts other teeth. Any discomfort will subside with time, but if the maintainer doesn’t fit quite right, we’ll adjust it until it does.
Once the adult tooth starts to emerge from the gums, the space maintainer is easily removed and the permanent tooth will come in normally.