Space Maintainers 101: What You Need To Know

Space Maintainers 101: What You Need To Know

Jul 01, 2021

We get two sets of teeth (that usually come out during childhood) and both serve an important purpose. The first set of teeth (primary teeth) come out at six months and the second set from age six or seven. In a normal situation, these teeth work together seamlessly and preserve your child’s dental integrity. However, when your child accidentally loses the primary teeth, it can affect how the permanent ones come out. And, to prevent further problems from occurring, a pediatric dentist near you can recommend a tooth space maintainer.

What are Space Maintainers?

A space maintainer is an orthodontic device that helps to maintain the space that was occupied by the primary teeth. The main purpose why a dentist may recommend a tooth space maintainer in Bloomfield, CT is to preserve the gap and prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting. Having gaps between the primary teeth, may not seem harmless at first. However, leaving them bare for an extended period will affect how the permanent teeth come out.

When Does the Dentist Recommend a Space Maintainer?

You may need to get a dental space maintainer near you if your child has tooth loss or over-retained primary teeth.

    • Tooth loss

Because of poor dental habits and brushing techniques, children are prone to cavities and decay. And, that is why primary teeth easily fall victim to tooth decay and often lead to them being extracted.

Yes, the primary teeth will eventually fall out, but when they come out before the right time, it can affect the transition from primary to permanent. Furthermore, the bacteria infection can spread to the jaw and affect the development of the bone. Getting the teeth extracted is the ideal treatment to prevent the infection from spreading.

The teeth can also come out after an accident or fall. Injuries are prone during childhood and this increases the risk of the teeth getting injured and loosening.

    • Over-retained teeth

Retained teeth often occur when the teeth become loose and then tighten back to the gums. This can prevent permanent teeth from coming out. If these baby teeth do not fall on time, it will lead to dental crowding. This is a dental problem that occurs when the teeth grow over other teeth because of a lack of enough space in the jaw. Teeth overcrowding can cause bite and jaw problems and create the need for orthodontic treatment.

How Do The Space Maintainers Work?

These devices work by holding the surrounding teeth in place and preventing them from shifting. You can choose between primary and permanent space maintainers.

Removable space maintainers are made of plastic or acrylic, and they usually use a block or artificial teeth to maintain the space. These devices, however, are ideal for older children because they require higher levels of hygiene. On the downside, the removable maintainers are not as durable. Plus, if the children forget to wear them as recommended, they may not be effective in maintaining the space.

Fixed space maintainers are placed on the surrounding teeth using dental cement and they work similarly to braces. These are ideal for younger children who cannot handle the removable devices. Our pediatric dentist in Bloomfield, CT will take you through the different types and choose the most suitable one.

Does The Space Maintainer Hurt?

No, they do not hurt, but your child will take feel slight discomfort for a few days. They also need time to get used to the devices and for the gums to adjust.

How to Care for the Space Maintainer?

Taking care of your teeth maintainers is important for supporting your child’s dental health.

  • Do not eat 30 minutes after the space maintainers are fixed
  • Avoid taking chewy or sticky foods
  • Make sure your brush your child’s teeth and along the gum line every day. Also, floss in between the gums and underneath the space maintainers
  • Ensure the child wears the maintainer all the time as instructed by the dentist if they have the removable version.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Bloomfield Pediatric Dentistry for more information about space maintainers and how they work.

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