Encourage Proper Tooth Eruption
What Are Space Maintainers?
Space maintainers are metal oral appliances that are placed in a child’s mouth to hold open a space when they have prematurely lost a tooth. Even though primary teeth fall out naturally, if a tooth is lost too soon due to dental trauma or tooth decay, it can cause issues with the eruption of the permanent tooth.
A tooth that falls out too soon will cause the surrounding teeth to shift. This can result in orthodontic problems and teeth in new positions can block the space previously being maintained by the natural tooth for the permanent tooth to erupt. This may result in the impaction of the permanent tooth.
By placing a space maintainer, the surrounding teeth cannot move and we prevent changes in your child’s bite. Once the permanent tooth is due to erupt, our San Diego team can remove the space maintainer and the permanent tooth will erupt properly.
If your child is missing a tooth, they should get a space maintainer right away. Contact us at Sprouting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with
Avoid Consequences of Missing Teeth
Benefits of Space Maintainers
Painless - The good news is that space maintainers aren’t painful! Upon first being placed in the mouth, it may take a few days to get used to it. However, any extreme discomfort suggests that something is wrong with the placement of the space maintainer. Some irritation may occur in the first few days, but this will subside.
Reduces Need for Orthodontics - Orthodontic treatment is not cheap. It can cost you thousands of dollars and take years to correct your child's tooth alignment and bite. By placing a space maintainer, your child's bite won't change and their teeth will stay in the proper alignment.
Encourages Proper Eruption of Teeth - The job of your child’s primary tooth, besides its function in chewing and helping you speak clearly, is to hold a space for the permanent tooth to erupt. Without this tooth keeping your other teeth in line, they’ll move across this extra space, sometimes blocking the new tooth from coming through. A space maintainer holds this gap open to prevent this.
Different Types Available - Space maintainers can be removable or fixed depending on the age and needs of your child. Fixed space maintainers are the most common because young children may not comply with wearing them if they can just take them out.
What to Expect
The Space Maintainer Process
The process of receiving a space maintainer is simple, fast, and minimally invasive. Your child will come in for a consultation so we can take a look at the gap in their mouth and take x-rays to see how the permanent tooth will erupt.
We will also determine which type of space maintainer is needed depending on the location in the mouth. The most common type is a band and loop space maintainer which involves placing a metal band around a tooth that is adjacent to the gap.
A metal wire then extends into the gap to prevent the other teeth from moving into the space. The whole process takes about 30 minutes.
Your child will return for follow-up appointments at our practice to check on the development of their teeth and the condition of the space maintainer. Once the permanent tooth has shown signs it’s ready to erupt, our pediatric dentists in San Diego will remove the space maintainer.
How To Take Care
Of A New Space Maintainer
How you clean your child’s space maintainer depends on the type. A removable space maintainer can be taken out with ease and scrubbed with their soft-bristle toothbrush. A fixed space maintainer will be cleaned by thoroughly flossing and brushing their teeth to remove food particles.
Your child should avoid eating hard and sticky foods which can get stuck in or dislodge the space maintainer. Make sure your child doesn’t mess around with it or pull at it with their fingers. Gum should be avoided and your child should stick to soft foods on the first day the space maintainer is placed.