What You Need to Know About Space Maintainers

The development of baby teeth is important to your child’s future dental health. Baby teeth are designed to serve as “guides” for their permanent teeth so they grow in correctly. When baby teeth are removed before your child’s permanent teeth are ready to erupt, the remaining teeth may shift due to the empty space. This shift is an issue for the permanent teeth trying to grow in.

It’s inevitable that some children will lose one or more baby teeth earlier than expected, from either tooth decay or an injury. But your child’s teeth can be protected with space maintainers.

Space maintainers are dental appliances made of plastic or metal that holds open the space left by the missing tooth. There are two types of space maintainers your child’s pediatric dentist may recommend, removable and fixed.

Removable space maintainers are made of acrylic or plastic. This device works better with older children, who can remove, clean, and care for the appliance themselves. However, a downside to this is that your child can lose the space maintainer or may not wear it consistently, neglecting the space and causing issues for permanent teeth.

Fixed space maintainers are made of stainless steel. It is attached with dental cement to hold one or more teeth in a specific position, guaranteeing that the space is maintained correctly. Unilateral space maintainers are fixed on one side, while bilateral are fixed on both sides.

The type of space maintainer your child’s pediatric dentist recommends may depend on the number and location of missing teeth. For example, if your child is only missing one tooth, an in office fabricated space maintainer can be designed for an ideal fit to your child’s mouth. If your child has multiple missing teeth, measurements and impressions will be needed to ensure the right fit.

Once the space maintainers are ready and fitted to your child’s mouth, it is recommended that you maintain good oral health habits with your child to protect their teeth and gums from any irritation that the space maintainers may cause. You can also use warm saltwater to help heal gum tissue and kill unwanted bacteria. Avoid sticky or chewy candies which can pull it out.

When you or your child notice that a permanent tooth is starting to erupt, make sure to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist to evaluate and determine the timing of removing the space maintainer.

At Advanced Children’s Dentistry, your Garden City Pediatric Dentist, we want to make sure your children’s teeth develop healthy and correctly. Call to schedule an appointment at (516) 758 – KIDS.

Advanced Children’s Dentistry is proud to serve the surrounding cities: Mineola, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, New Hyde Park, Westbury, North New Hyde Park, Roosevelt, North Merrick, Roslyn, Carle Place, Williston Park, Old Westbury, Albertson, East Meadow, Garden City Park, Floral Park, East Garden City and many more.

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