Does Your Child Need a Space Maintainer?

Does Your Child Need a Space Maintainer?

Jul 01, 2023

When a child loses a baby tooth too early, either due to dental decay, extraction, or trauma, parents may not think it is a big deal since baby teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth eventually. However, losing a baby tooth too early can cause problems for the permanent teeth that are still erupting. In such cases, the child’s pediatric dentist may suggest a space maintainer ensure that the space left by the missing baby tooth is maintained until the permanent tooth emerges. For parents searching for a kid’s dentist, Greenwood Pediatric Dentistry is a perfect option.

A space maintainer is an oral appliance specifically designed to keep the space open in the mouth where the baby tooth was lost prematurely. These appliances are usually made of either metal or acrylic and can be either fixed or removable. Dr. John Patangan is a trusted pediatric dentist who may recommend a space maintainer for your child. Fixed space maintainers are attached to the teeth using cement, whereas removable space maintainers resemble orthodontic appliances and may even have an artificial tooth.

The main purpose of a space maintainer is to prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting into the space where the baby tooth used to be. Once the permanent tooth starts to come in, the space maintainer can be removed as it has served its purpose. There are four different types of space maintainers that a pediatric dentist may suggest for your child, depending on the specific requirements of your child’s teeth. Each of these types of space maintainers serves a unique purpose and may be recommended in different situations. Therefore, it is essential to consult your child’s pediatric dentist to determine which type of space maintainer is best for your child:

A Unilateral Space Maintainer

This is a type of oral appliance designed to fit on one side of the mouth and wrap around an existing tooth. It features a metal loop that extends into the space left by a missing tooth, thereby preserving the space and preventing the adjacent teeth from moving into it. This type of space maintainer is commonly used when only one tooth is missing in the mouth. Keeping the space open allows the permanent tooth to come in naturally and ensures sufficient space for it to erupt correctly.

A Crown and Loop Space Maintainer

This is similar to a unilateral space maintainer dental in terms of design, but it uses a dental crown over the existing tooth instead of wrapping around it. The crown helps to hold the space maintainer in place and provides additional support for the remaining teeth. A kids dentist near you may suggest this type of space maintainer for a missing molar tooth, as molars are large and require more support than other teeth. By keeping the space open, the crown and loop space maintainer allows the permanent tooth to erupt without any issues.

Lingual Space Maintainers

These are a type of oral appliance used when there are multiple missing baby teeth in the mouth. They are cemented to the inside surface of the molars and then connected to the lower front teeth with a metal wire. This type of space maintainer is invisible from the outside and is therefore preferred by many patients. By maintaining the space left by the missing teeth, lingual space maintainers ensure that there is enough room for the permanent teeth to come in properly and prevent any crowding or misalignment. Our pediatric dentist in Greenwood, SC, is experienced in providing lingual space maintainers to children.

Distal Shoe Space Maintainers

These are specifically designed to be inserted into the gum line to ensure enough space for an erupting permanent tooth. This type of space maintainer is used primarily for the first permanent molar located at the back of the mouth. The distal shoe space maintainer extends into the space left by the missing baby tooth and helps to guide the permanent tooth into its correct position. Maintaining the space also prevents adjacent teeth from moving into the space and causing misalignment.

Space maintainers play a crucial role in maintaining your child’s oral health as they prevent a range of complications from occurring.

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