Children may need space maintainers if they lose a tooth early or have a baby (primary) tooth extracted due to dental decay. If either is the case, it is important to know the benefits of using a space maintainer and how it can help support your child's dental health.
A space maintainer is an appliance that is custom-made by your Dr. Donald in acrylic or metal material. It can be either removable or cemented in a child's mouth. Its purpose is to keep the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt and come into place.
Baby teeth are important to the developmentdevelopment of the teeth, jaw bones and muscles and help to guide permanent teeth into position when the baby teeth are lost. If a space is not maintained, then teeth can shift into the open space and orthodontic treatment may be required. Not every child who loses a baby tooth early or to dental decay requires a space maintainer; however, a professional consultation with your dentist or orthodontist should be conducted to determine if using a space maintainer is needed.
Types of Space Maintainers
There are two types of space maintainers for children, removable and fixed.
Wearing the Space Maintainer
Once the space maintainer is made it may take the child a few days to get accustomed to wearing the appliance whether it is removable or fixed. The Dr. Donald will review with you and your child the proper ways to clean the space maintainer thoroughly in order to keep the gum tissue healthy and free of dental plaque. Proper instruction for tooth brushing and flossing should be considered for improved oral hygiene.
If the space maintainer is fixed, it will be important to avoid chewy and sugary foods, and gum or candy, which may loosen or get caught on the appliance. Also, the space maintainer should not be pressed or pushed with the tongue or fingers because it could loosen or bend the appliance.
Dr. Donald will recommend that he sees your child on a regular basis to monitor the progress of treatment with the space maintainer and continue to receive a regular six-month professional cleaning appointment.