How do dental space maintainers work? Well, having kids around the house is a delight until they start running into accidents and sending you into a panic. In between scraped knees and twisted ankles, sometimes your kids will hit their mouth and a tooth may get knocked out. When the tooth fairy comes sooner than expected, it could greatly impact your child’s dental health and social life.
They say that the first thing people notice is someone’s smile and an attractive one will increase the chances of landing a date. Therefore, little things like visiting a kid’s dentist regularly can play a significant role in your child’s future.
So, if you do not want your child to have crooked teeth after losing a tooth prematurely, a children’s dentist will help by using a space maintainer. Keep reading to learn about dental space maintainers, including what they are, how they work, their benefits, and what to consider when getting your child one.
What Are Dental Space Maintainers and How Do They Work?
Children get temporary teeth which should stay in place until the permanent teeth grow beneath them. The temporary tooth then becomes loose and has to be removed to create room for the permanent one. This is usually the ideal scenario, but our kids can also lose their baby teeth too soon. As a result, the neighboring teeth can drift towards the space and leave little place for the permanent teeth. Consequently, the erupting permanent teeth are crowded and can cause crooked teeth.
A space maintainer is a custom-made dental appliance usually made from acrylic or metal. They are placed in the gap left by the lost baby tooth and anchored to the neighboring teeth permanently or temporarily. They prevent the neighboring teeth from taking up space for the permanent tooth that will grow. Therefore, a space maintainer holds the space for the permanent teeth while ensuring that the surrounding teeth grow at their own pace without shifting, crowding, or misaligning.
When the permanent tooth begins to erupt, your children’s dentist removes the space maintainer. Usually, children’s orthodontics concerning maintainers require dental x-rays to track the permanent tooth’s development. With the images, the kid’s dentist will decide the ideal time to remove the appliance.
RemovableAs you can tell from the name, these can be removed. They can come in the form of an artificial tooth; hence can also be used for aesthetic purposes.
FixedA fixed space maintainer is cemented in place. They can be further categorized into fixed unilateral and fixed bilateral appliances. Fixed unilateral appliances maintain space on one side of the mouth while bilateral ones maintain space on both sides of the mouth. Fixed unilateral appliances include band and loop and distal shoe, while bilateral appliances comprise a transpalatal arch, lingual holding arch, and Nance arch.
Benefits of a Space Maintainer
So far, we have established that the main reason for space maintainer is to ensure that the permanent teeth stay aligned. However, besides the beauty of having aligned teeth, a space maintainer saves you a ton of money in terms of orthodontics fees you would pay for your child later in life. The appliance costs you a few hundred dollars, depending on the type your orthodontist recommends.
If you disregard the importance of a space maintainer and your child gets crooked teeth, you will have to pay for braces. Braces do not come cheap, with metal braces being the cheapest at $3000, whereas lingual braces set you back at least $8,000. Sometimes the orthodontist may even recommend surgery, which will also dig a hole in your pocket.
Does Your Child Need a Space Maintainer?
Still, not every child who has lost a baby tooth prematurely needs a space maintainer. The best kids’ specialists recommend the appliances based on the child’s expected growth pattern and dentition. Therefore, before recommending any appliance, a children’s dentist will conduct a thorough oral exam to assess the space left by the baby tooth lost. If the tests show that the permanent tooth is about to erupt, then there is no need for a space maintainer.
The main reason a space maintainer is advised is due to premature tooth loss due to extensive decay. Also, if your kid has injured the temporary tooth such that it needs to be extracted or the tooth has fallen out on its own after experiencing trauma.
A space maintainer can break or come loose; therefore, it is important to keep your dentist’s appointments for routine check-ups. As the permanent teeth erupt, the dentist may have to adjust the appliance by reconstructing or changing it entirely.
Your child should continue brushing and flossing the teeth to prevent decay from forming around the teeth. He should also avoid chewing gum, eating sticky candy, and biting down on hard foods such as carrots and ales. Furthermore, warn him against pushing or tugging the appliance with the tongue or finger.
Get a Space Maintainer for Your Child
Now that you know if your child needs a space maintainer, getting the best kids dentist should not be a challenge. Kids can be scared during such treatments; one Ontario children’s dentist provides service animals to help keep your child calm. Go ahead and book an appointment to save your child the embarrassment of crooked teeth.