Space may be the final frontier, but it’s also critical in your child’s mouth. Say what, Spock?
A child may need a space maintainer if he or she has lost a baby tooth early or have had a baby tooth extracted due to excessive decay. Why? Because the adjacent teeth can shift into the open space created by the missing tooth, creating a need for orthodontics to move them back into the proper position. A space maintainer can prevent the need for that later orthodontic work.
What is a space maintainer?
A space maintainer is a custom-made appliance made of acrylic or metal that is either removable or cemented in place. Its purpose is to keep the space where the baby tooth previously was open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt into it.
Baby teeth are important in the development of the teeth, jawbone, and muscles, plus they help guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions when the baby teeth fall out.
Types of space maintainers
- Removable — Removable space maintainers are similar to orthodontic appliances and are made of acrylic. Sometimes, an artificial tooth may be used to fill the space.
- Fixed — There are four different types of fixed maintainers: unilateral, crown and loop, distal shoe, and lingual.
During your regular checkups with us at the Doctors of Dental Medicine, we’ll ascertain if the early loss of a baby tooth could lead to spacing issues with your child. We’ll then explain the various types of space maintainers and the situations that merit each.
Call us at 732-329-3113 to schedule your appointment.