A space maintainer is often recommended when a child loses one of their baby teeth early. A space maintainer is designed to hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. This prevents the teeth on either side of the gap from shifting into the now-open space.
Space maintainers can be fixed or removable. A fixed space maintainer is cemented in place and can only be removed by a dentist. A removable space maintainer is made from either plastic or metal and can be taken in and out of the mouth by the patient. It is usually attached to a wire and band.
What Are the Benefits of Using Space Maintainers?
Although primary teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent ones, it is important to preserve them and the space they occupy until the adult teeth are ready to emerge. If a primary tooth is lost prematurely due to an accident or decay, the adult tooth that is supposed to erupt can be misaligned and create crowding issues in the mouth.
An easy way to prevent this from occurring is to have a dental professional place a spacer to keep the space where the tooth was lost open. A space maintainer is also recommended if the primary tooth that is lost prematurely falls out because the adult tooth underneath it has not completely erupted yet. In this case, there will still be an open space that needs to be preserved in order for the adult tooth to erupt successfully in its place.
When a space maintainer is used, it can help to prevent misalignment issues and help a child avoid the need for braces later on in life. While the device is usually only used for a temporary period of time, it can prevent serious issues with the alignment of the jaw and teeth from developing.
Another benefit of using a space maintainer is that it can help prevent the shifting of other teeth and the development of bite problems. Having a space maintainer in place will help ensure that their remaining teeth remain healthy and straight.
What Should My Child Expect During a Space Maintainer Appointment?
Your child can expect a comfortable experience during his or her space maintainer appointments. Our team will first clean your child’s teeth, then use a putty-like material to create an impression that will be used to make a mold for the retainer. We will then place a space maintainer in your child’s mouth and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it fits properly and comfortably.
Our dentists will also teach you and your child how to properly care for the space maintainer and clean their teeth and gums. We will also schedule routine checkups for your child so that they can check in and make sure everything is progressing as it should.
For more information, contact our Alexandria dental office at (703) 823-2848 or 5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304, or our Manassas dental office at (703) 479-7654 or 8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110.