Has your child lost a baby tooth early due to dental decay? Has your child’s dentist recommended getting a space maintainer?
What is a space maintainer?
A space maintainer is a dental appliance that dentists or orthodontists can make for their patients.
For children, the space maintainer is a common appliance that is made when a baby tooth is extracted due to dental decay. The space maintainer preserves the space for the permanent tooth to come in.
Actually, all baby teeth are like space maintainers since they are in the mouth until the permanent teeth are ready to come in.
Why are space maintainers important?
A space maintainer is important because its main purpose is to preserve the space for the permanent tooth to come in, therefore, not allowing the rest of the teeth to shift or move.
By keeping the space open, the space maintainer will allow the permanent tooth to come in straight and may help to avoid future treatments like braces.
Not every child who loses a baby tooth early will require a space maintainer, but it is highly recommended to have a professional consultation to determine if one is needed.
What are the types of space maintainers?
There are two types of space maintainers for children – fixed and removable.
A fixed space maintainer is cemented into place until it is removed by a dentist.
A removable space maintainer can be removed, is made of acrylic and is very similar to an orthodontic appliance.
Does a space maintainer hurt?
It may take children a couple of days to get used to a space maintainer, so they may feel uncomfortable at first.
Once the space maintainer is placed in your child’s mouth, the dentist should explain all the proper ways to keep it clean and will let you and your child know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid.
It is very important that your child continues to visit the dentist for regular checkups, especially to monitor the progress of the space maintainer and the permanent tooth below it.
If you want to know if your child needs a space maintainer, contact us today to schedule an appointment.