If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, the child’s other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. When your child’s permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them. The result is crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.
This is a ideal case where a spaces maintainer would have helped
To prevent that, we can insert a space maintainer to hold the spot left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges. The space maintainer might be a band or a temporary crown attached to one side of the vacant space. Later, as the permanent tooth emerges, we will remove the appliance.
Following the application of a space maintainer, the child must visit us every six months to check the condition of the appliance (and of the rest of the teeth). The child should avoid sticky foods, such as candy, gum or popcorn, which might accidentally break appliance. He or she should also ensure that the wires around the empty space are cleaned properly every night.
- A mold of your child’s mouth is taken at one appointment.
- The mold is sent to a laboratory that makes the space maintainer.
- At the second appointment the metal band is placed around the tooth that is behind the missing one.
- Next a loop or brace is placed that goes over the gum where the missing tooth was and rests against the tooth in front of this space.
- When the band is cemented on the tooth, it prevents the teeth from moving into the space where the missing tooth was and allows the adult tooth enough space to grow into the proper position.
- May reduce or eliminate the need for braces.
- Eat comfortably.
- Save space for proper eruption of adult teeth.
To avoid the cost and time of replacement, please:
- Avoid sticky sweets, popcorn, ice and or chewing gum.
- Don’t tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue.
- Keep it clean with brushing and flossing.
- At night carefully clean around all wires, bands and other areas of the appliance, as it tends to trap food.
- After cleaning, please inspect the appliance carefully for damage.
- Keep your 6 month check up appointments to monitor oral health and to evaluate the space maintainer to determine when it needs to be removed. Some of the examples of space maintainers
FAQ's on Space Maintainers
Q: Why do children lose their baby teeth?
A: A baby tooth usually stays in until a permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a baby tooth too soon. A tooth might be removed because of extensive dental disease.( First all attempt should be made to save tooth with help of Root canal treatment of milk tooth)
Still if tooth need to be removed we will recommend a space maintainer to prevent future space loss and dental problems.
Q: Why all the fuss? Baby teeth fall out eventually on their own!
A: Baby teeth are important to your child’s present and future dental health. They encourage normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into position. Remember: Some baby teeth are not replaced until a child is 12 or 14 years old.
Q: How does a lost baby tooth cause problems for permanent teeth?
A: If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may tilt or drift into the empty space.(see series of pictures at top of page) Teeth in the other jaw may move up or down to fill the gap. When adjacent teeth shift into the empty space, they create a lack of space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. So, permanent teeth are crowded and come in crooked. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive braces treatment.
Q: What are space maintainers?
A: Space maintainers are appliances that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. They are small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days.
Q: How does a space maintainer help?
A: Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It’s more affordable — and easier on your child — to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with braces treatment later.
Q: What special care do space maintainers need?
We have four rules for space maintainer care.
- Avoid sticky sweets or chewing gum.
- Don’t tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers , pencil or tongue.
- Keep it clean with proper brushing.
- Continue regular every 6 months dental visits.