Space Maintainer

Does Your Child Need a Space Maintainer by ABC Kids Dental Group?

You may not think much of your child losing a baby tooth due to decay, removal, or trauma. Your child’s permanent teeth will replace the baby teeth that are missing. It is true that your child will eventually have permanent teeth erupt from the space left by the missing baby tooth. However, baby teeth that are lost too soon can pose problems when erupting permanent dentures. A space maintainer may be recommended by your child’s pediatric dentist.

An oral appliance called a Space maintainer, it is used to “maintenance” the space left by a missing baby teeth. These are usually made of acrylic or metal and can be either fixed or removable. Fixed space keepers are cemented in the mouth while removable space keepers can be removed and replaced with an orthodontic appliance. They prevent surrounding teeth from shifting into the empty space created by the loss of a baby tooth too early. The space maintainer will be taken out once the permanent tooth erupts.

There are four types of space keepers that your pediatric dentist might recommend for your child, including:

  • Unilateral space keepers are designed to fit on one end of the mouth and wrap around a tooth. To preserve the space, they have a metal loop which extends into the gap left by a missing tooth.
  • Loop space maintainers are similar to a unilateral space keeper with the difference that they place a dental crown on top of the existing tooth, rather than wrapping around it.
  • Language space maintainers can be used when there are multiple missing baby tooth. These are attached to the molars with cement and connected to the lower front teeth using a metal wire.
  • Distal shoe spaces maintainers are inserted below the gum line in order to provide enough space for a permanent tooth to erupt. This space maintainer is designed to be used on the first permanent tooth.
  • Space keepers are essential to your child’s oral health as they can prevent many complications from happening. Because your child’s permanent tooth is directly affected by their primary, this can lead to complications with their permanent teeth. This can lead to some or all of these complications:

  • There is not enough space for permanent teeth to erupt.
  • There is a greater chance of your teeth being impacted or erupting incorrectly.
  • Overcrowding permanent teeth, overlapping or crooked permanents are all signs of overcrowding.
  • Speech impediments
  • Malocclusion (misaligned bite).
  • Later in life, there is a greater need for orthodontic treatment
  • Your child will only have to wear the space maintainer for a brief time before their permanent teeth emerge. You will need to assist your child in caring for their space keeper. Removable space keepers should be cleaned with mild dish soap, and rinsed with warm water every day.

    Regular brushing and flossing are required for fixed space maintainers. Your child’s pediatric dentist may recommend special techniques. Fixed space maintainers can’t be removed from your child’s mouth. This means that they must follow certain dietary restrictions. Avoid foods that are too hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy. To prevent damage to the appliance and to reduce the chance of food getting trapped inside, these foods should be avoided. To prevent the space maintainer from getting damaged, it is important to tell your child to stop playing with it.