Space maintainers help protect a child’s smile after losing a tooth. Usually, the dentist will recommend space maintainers after removing a primary tooth.
What are space maintainers?
A space maintainer is a custom-made appliance that is used to keep a space open in the mouth. This allows the permanent tooth to erupt and fall into place. Maintainers can consist of different materials. Depending on the case, your dentist can install a fixed or removable maintainer.
Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, are important for the development of adult teeth. Moreover, they affect the jaw bone and the surrounding muscles. If a child loses a primary tooth to decay or trauma, the dentist may suggest a space maintainer.
Types of space maintainers
There are generally two types of space maintainers: Removable and fixed.
Removable maintainers are generally made of acrylic and can be removed after the adult tooth falls into place. In some rare cases, an artificial tooth may be used to fill the space if the gap is too large for a removable maintainer.
A fixed maintainer comes in four different forms: Unilateral, crown and loop, distal shoe and lingual. All fixed options are created for more complicated spaces and hold the space more securely.
When to consider space maintainers?
All children lose their primary teeth, but that does not mean they can lose them at any time.
Premature tooth loss can completely change the appearance of a person’s face and smile. If one primary tooth is missing for a short amount of time, it can also throw the surrounding teeth out of place because they are not properly supported. This can cause permanent damage to someone’s smile.
The location of the lost tooth also plays a role. Children are likely to lose their front teeth in sports and accidents. The teeth near the front of the mouth are more fragile and are more prone to trauma.
For teeth near the back of the mouth, space maintainers may not be needed as there are multiple teeth to hold it in place.
Other benefits of space maintainers
Space maintainers are a great way to prevent cavities and additional sensitivity in teeth. They provide a filling that does not allows small particles to enter the gap left by the former tooth.
In some rare cases of genetic conditions, space maintainers are also an effective way to help hide these conditions to boost self-confidence.
Does your child need space maintainers?
Everyone deserves a perfect smile. Do not let decay or tooth loss prevent your child from loving their smile.
If your child has lost one or more teeth, then their dentist has likely suggested they install space maintainers. If your child has not seen the dentist in some time, please call our office to see how we can stop their teeth from shifting.
Make sure that your child’s adult teeth grow into the correct place with the help of space maintainers.
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