What Are Space Maintainers?
Space maintainers are metal or plastic appliances thatare custom fit to your child’s mouth. Space maintainers’ purpose is to hold space between teeth so that underlying permanent teeth will have adequate room to erupt into their correct positions. Space maintainers can be fixed or removable, and they can be unilateral (fixed to one side of the mouth) or bilateral (fixed to both sides of the mouth). For younger patients, fixed space maintainers are necessary to prevent the need for long-term orthodontics in patients at risk for crowding.
Why Do Children Lose Their Baby Teeth?
A baby tooth usually stays in place until a permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a baby tooth too soon. A tooth might beknocked out accidentally or removed because of dental disease. When a tooth is lost too early, your Parsi General and Children Dentistry dentist may recommend a space maintainer to prevent future space loss and dental problems.
Why Does My Child Need Space Maintainers?
If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may tilt or drift into the empty space. Teeth in the other jaw may move up or down to fill the gap. This doesn’t leave room for the adult teeth and can lead to impacted adult teeth that need to be surgically exposed or adult teeth that come in crooked and will need extensive orthodontic treatment later. There are periodontal problems associated with those conditions as well. The good news is that can all be easily avoided with a small space maintainer and children easily adjust to them after the first few days.
How Do Space Maintainers Help?
Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They prevent the movement of adjacent teeth until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It is more affordable and easier for your child to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.
What Special Care Do Space Maintainers Need?
Parsi General & Children Dentistry dentist Dr. Parsi has four rules for space maintainer care. First, do not tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue. Second, avoid sticky sweets or chewing gum. Third, keep it clean with conscientious brushing and flossing. Fourth, continue regular dental visits.