What is space maintenance?
Space maintenance is a special type of treatment for kids that have lost a baby tooth prematurely due to a tooth infection, dental trauma, or any other dental health issue. Your child’s dentist will place a custom prosthetic called a space maintainer in the empty socket to prevent other teeth from shifting. This ensures that your child’s permanent teeth can grow in properly and that no other dental health issues keep your child from proper oral development.
Did you know…
Space maintainers are made of durable materials such as stainless steel, plastic, or acrylic.
How it works: The space maintenance process
At your consultation, the dentist will decide if a space maintainer is necessary and beneficial for your child. First, the dentist will examine your child’s empty tooth socket, dental arches, gum health, and surrounding teeth to get the full picture of your child’s dental needs.
Your child’s dentist will then take a series of x-rays to view the development of the underlying teeth and project the eruption. If the adult teeth are about to erupt, space maintenance may not be necessary. If they still have years to develop, space maintenance will be recommended for your child.
After gathering data and deciding on the best treatment for your child, your dentist will securely place the space maintainer onto two adjacent teeth. Once your child’s dental appliance is securely fixed, your dentist will check for proper fit to ensure maximum comfort.
Schedule a follow-up appointment with your child’s dentist every 4-8 weeks to monitor progress. Eventually, the space maintainer will be removed as the adult teeth begin to develop and erupt.
Types of Space Maintainers
Crown and Loop
Did you know…
Space maintainers can help prevent oral issues from forming later in your child’s life.
Have questions about space maintenance? Find answers here.
What are the benefits of space maintenance?
Space maintenance helps preserve the proper tooth spacing in your child’s mouth after tooth loss. This can create ample space for incoming adult teeth, which helps your child avoid oral development issues down the line. If tooth loss is ignored and a space maintenance treatment is delayed, costly orthodontic care or oral surgery may be necessary. The goal is to recognize and treat the issue as early as possible, so your child’s teeth and jaw can properly grow and maintain space for incoming adult teeth.
Are space maintainers necessary?
Space maintainers aren’t the right treatment for every child facing tooth loss. If you have an older child whose permanent tooth is about to erupt, a space maintainer may not be necessary. However, space maintainers are almost always recommended for younger children, as they are still a few years away from getting their permanent teeth. If you’re unsure whether your child is the right candidate for a space maintainer, give our office a call so we can schedule a consultation with an Ardsley dentist as soon as possible.
Do space maintainers hurt?
Space maintainers do not cause any pain. Your child may feel some minor discomfort for a few days after the appliance is placed, which is normal. Once they adjust to how it feels, your child will likely forget that the space maintainer is even there.
How should my child care for their space maintainer?
It is crucial to make sure your child is brushing and flossing daily to prevent cavities from forming around the space maintainer. Encourage your child to avoid chewing gum, sticky candy, and hard foods. In addition, remind your little one to refrain from pulling or tugging on the space maintainer with their fingers, tongue, or other objects. If your child’s space maintainer loosens or breaks, contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment.
Did you know…
Tooth decay is the number one childhood disease in the United States.