Why does a child need a space maintainer?
A child may need a space maintainer due to the early loss of a tooth or teeth.
- Trauma has caused the early loss of a tooth
- Severe decay that has made the tooth nonrestorable
- an abscess has formed and the tooth must be extracted
- severe crowding is present and an orthodontist recommends an extraction(s)
Regardless of how a primary tooth has gone missing, it is important for the pediatric dentist or orthodontist to evaluate for a space maintainer. Teeth that are left without one will start to drift and possibly block out the permanent tooth below the gum.
There are both removable and fixed space maintainers. Our doctors prefer the fixed ones, so that they know they are placed securely for as long as needed. The location of the missing tooth and how many teeth are missing are the deciding factor in what type of space maintainer is needed. The patient is fitted and the appliance is sent to a lab to be made custom.
Space maintainers are cemented into proper position and children adjust quickly within a few days. Extra oral hygiene care is needed around the bands and your dental provider will go over these instructions. Space maintainers are checked at regular 6 month dental cleanings or at regular evaluations from your orthodontist. The doctors will let you know when the proper time to remove the space maintainer will be.