A space maintainer is a dental appliance that is used to hold the space in a child’s mouth open after a primary tooth has been lost. It is usually placed after a baby tooth has been removed, to prevent the adult tooth from moving into that space. Space maintainers can also be used to keep a space open after an adult tooth has been removed. Space maintainers can be removable or fixed, and are custom-made to fit your child’s mouth.
Space maintainers are usually made of stainless steel or a plastic/acrylic material. They can be clear or tooth-colored. The type of space maintainer used depends on the age of the child, the location of the missing tooth, and how long the space needs to be maintained. The most common type of space maintainer is called a band and loop. It consists of a small metal band that is cemented to a tooth next to the space with a wire loop extending into the empty space. This type of space maintainer is used when there are baby teeth present on both sides of the empty space.
There are many benefits of using a space maintainer, including:
Prevents crowding of teeth
When a primary tooth is lost prematurely, there is a risk that the surrounding teeth will shift into the empty space. This can cause crowding of the teeth. A space maintainer helps to prevent this from happening by holding the space open until the permanent tooth comes in.
Maintains proper bite alignment
If teeth shift out of place, it can cause problems with the bite alignment. This can lead to difficulties with chewing and speaking. A space maintainer helps to keep the teeth in their proper place so that the bite is not affected.
Makes room for permanent teeth
When a primary tooth is lost prematurely, there may not be enough room for the permanent tooth to come in. A space maintainer creates extra space by holding the surrounding teeth apart. This allows the permanent tooth to come in without crowding or shifting of other teeth.
Avoids the need for orthodontic treatment
By preventing crowding and keeping the teeth in their proper place, a space maintainer can avoid the need for orthodontic treatment later on. This can save both time and money.
Is comfortable and easy to use
Space maintainers are made to be comfortable and easy to use. They can be removed for cleaning and eating, and do not require any special care. In relation, the length of time a space maintainer stays in will depend on your child’s individual situation. In most cases, they will be worn for 6 to 12 months, until the adult tooth comes in. Once the adult tooth has erupted, the space maintainer will be removed.
A space maintainer is a great way to keep your child’s smile healthy and growing properly. If you would like more information on space maintainers or other pediatric dental treatments, contact us today at Kidz and Family Dental Center. One of our skilled and friendly team members would be happy to answer any of your questions.