Dental space maintainers are perhaps one of the least known, but best-utilized dental therapies that are available for children. What are they? Space maintainers are like mini retainers that hold teeth in place and prevent them from moving into an undesirable location. Your pediatric dentist, or an orthodontic specialist can place them.
What a space maintainer does is preserve the open area when a baby tooth is lost prematurely. The tooth might have been knocked out, infected, or had a large cavity that was not treatable, requiring it to be extracted. Unfortunately, the teeth around it can then drift out of proper placement, and cause spacing or orthodontic complications later. Placing the small space maintainer into the area will keep teeth from drifting out of place.
Space maintainers are usually made of thin wires, or a “band and loop” device that is affixed to a nearby tooth. It’s thin, non-invasive, and easy to clean around. Your child can continue eating as normal, and brush their teeth as they regularly do. The loop keeps the area opened, while also leaving space for the permanent tooth to erupt into place. It is held in place with cement or bonding material.
Once the adult tooth begins to erupt, the space maintainer is easily removed, allowing eruption and exfoliation to continue as normal. Investing in this very simple appliance is something that will preserve your child’s smile, as well as reduce orthodontic treatment expenses later on.
Has your child lost a tooth too early? Ask your pediatric dentist about how a space maintainer can help!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates
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