Space maintainers are beneficial appliances that help your children grow into the smile they need. If your child loses a tooth prematurely, it is important to keep that space open so the permanent tooth can grow in properly. If your child doesn’t use a space maintainer to do so, the remaining baby teeth can gradually move closer together and close the space between them, which will cause major problems for the permanent tooth that is trying to move in. Also, the adult teeth that lie under the gums of the surrounding teeth might feel the need to grow into the empty space before the proper adult tooth is able to. This can cause major problems because when the natural adult tooth is ready to grow in, there won’t be space for it.
There are many types of space maintainers available, but most space maintainers are made of stainless steel or plastic. Some maintainers can be fixed and some can be removable. Fixed space maintainers are cemented onto the tooth that lies on the side of the gap in the mouth. It has a wired loop attached to the side that fills the empty space and keeps it open. Removable maintainers generally look like retainers and they use artificial teeth or plastic blocks to fill the space. The removable maintainer is often used for spaces that are noticeable when the child smiles. They are also often used for children who are capable of properly caring for the maintainer.
Space maintainers are not permanent appliances, and they are removed once the new tooth erupts out of the gums or when the surrounding teeth become loose. If you choose not to use a space maintainer to keep the space open in your child’s mouth, it could possibly result in orthodontic treatment. However, not every child needs a space maintainer if they lose a tooth prematurely. If you would like to know if this is the best step for your child, call our office today and schedule an appointment with our friendly dentist. We look forward to meeting with you!