How space maintainers for children help permanent teeth grow in properly after tooth loss
In an ideal world, every child would keep all of their baby teeth until they naturally fall out on their own. However, despite our best efforts, sometimes teeth fall out too early because of injuries, accidents, or disease. When this happens, the rest of the teeth can shift into the open space, making it difficult for the permanent teeth to eventually erupt and grow in the proper position in the mouth. To prevent this issue, we offer space maintainers for children in the Spring, Texas area who have experienced early tooth loss.
How a tooth space maintainer works
Space maintainers are customized appliances that are made to fit your child’s specific mouth contours. They are made of stainless steel, and there are several types of space maintainers available, including those that are fixed in place or are fully removable. Dr. Houshiar will recommend the best type for your child based on factors such as the tooth’s location that was lost and your child’s age.
Fixed space maintainers come in several different designs, including:
- Band-and-loop maintainers: This type of maintainer is held in place with either a crown or a band around the tooth next to the gap, and then a stainless-steel wire loop is used to maintain the space.
- Distal shoes: These may be recommended when a second primary molar has been lost before the first permanent molar erupts. Because there is no permanent molar to hold a band-and-loop space maintainer, the distal shoe uses a metal wire inserted just beneath the gums to prevent the space from closing.
- Lingual arches: This type of space maintainer can be a good option when back teeth on both sides of the lower jaw are lost. Or the child lost one or both lower canines because of the caries, or insufficient amount of space and eruption of front laterals. It consists of a wire-shaped curve around the inside of the teeth and attaches to the teeth in front of the gap on both sides so that the front teeth do not shift backwards into the open spaces.
- Nance appliances: Similar to lingual arches but for the upper jaw, these appliances are designed to maintain space when back teeth on both sides of the upper jaw have been lost.
Taking care of the space maintainer
With good care, your child’s space maintainer can last until their permanent tooth erupts into the space left by the missing baby tooth. We recommend the four following tips for keeping the space maintainer in good shape:
- Avoid sticky foods like gum and candy
- Brush after every meal and floss daily with the proper brushing and flossing technique
- Do not push or pull on the space maintainer (either with the tongue or fingers)
- Continue to visit us at least every six months for regular dental cleanings and check-ups
With the use of a space maintainer after early tooth loss, your child may be able to avoid more costly orthodontic care later on. If you are located in the Spring, Tomball, Woodlands, Champions, Conroe, or surrounding areas and your child has experienced the early loss of a baby tooth, call Mona Dental for Kids at (832) 662-3008!