Pediatric Dentist in Ontario, Ca

What are Dental Space Maintainers? | Ontario Children's Dentist

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.


Types of Space Maintainers


The different types of space maintainers are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The child's age also comes into play with children's orthodontics beginning from as early as 2 years of age. Of course, at that age, the dentist aims to get rid of the effects of thumbsucking and extensive pacifier use. You can assess the different options depending on your child's age.


Caring for a Space Maintainer


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.

Signs Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment | Ontario Kid's Dentist

Children should start seeing the dentist early in life. The general recommendation is to make an appointment for your children within approximately six months of their first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever one comes first. During this visit, your child gets an examination that helps to determine the overall health of their teeth. In most cases, very little treatment is performed during this initial visit.

What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

When you take your child to their first dental appointment, they will ask questions about your child’s dental and overall health. This includes discussing developmental issues that you might have and answering any of your questions regarding your child’s dental care. Other components of this appointment generally include:

  • Examine the teeth that your child has to look for any signs of decay
  • Look at your child’s bite to determine if there are any issues
  • Evaluate the jaw, gums and oral tissues to look for possible problems
  • If it is needed, the dental hygienist will assess to see if fluoride is needed and clean your child’s teeth

When Your Child’s Dentist May Recommend Early Orthodontic Treatment

There are some signs to look out for that could determine that your child needs orthodontic intervention early in their life. One of the most common is crowded teeth. If your child’s jaw is too narrow and small, their teeth may not have enough room, so they start to appear crowded. With early intervention, childrens braces might not be needed. Instead, the dentist could recommend a palatal expander to help ensure that there is enough room without having to remove any of your child’s teeth.

Protruding teeth is another issue to look for. It can occur as a result of growth or due to thumb sucking, especially after age four. When teeth are protruding, there is a risk for cracked or broken teeth. Once kids are older, this could result in the need for more invasive dental work, so solving the problem early in life can save them time and discomfort.

There are other things to look for that could warrant the need for orthodontics, including:

  • Your child has their mouth open a lot because this can cause crooked teeth and improper jaw development
  • Your child breaths through their mouth a lot since this can result in a gap at the front of the mouth between the bottom and top teeth, known as an anterior open bite
  • When swallowing, your child moves their lips as this can cause misaligned teeth
  • Teeth grinding and snoring may indicate issues like narrow arches, bad bites and crowded teeth
  • If your child’s lower jaw grows faster than their upper jaw, this could result in an underbite which could cause the need for extensive treatment in the future
  • If your child has issues with speaking or chewing, it could mean that their bite is misaligned

If your child’s primary teeth fall out either too soon or too late, this could result in problem’s with tooth positioning once their permanent teeth erupt and start to grow. Your dentist can provide you some guidance on what to expect once your child starts to grow their primary teeth so that you can keep track of how long they remain.

Benefits of Getting Orthodontic Work Early in Life

Getting early orthodontic treatment helps to ensure adequate space for the child’s incoming adult teeth. It can be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Help with tongue thrusting, thumb sucking and other habits that could be the reason for developmental issues
  • Accommodating emerging teeth by guiding jaw growth
  • Reducing the need for future dental corrections that could be more invasive
  • Correcting a variety of bite issues, such as cross bite, open bite and deep bite
  • Decreasing the chances of protruding teeth damage
  • Enhancing a child’s self-esteem by helping to improve the look of their smile

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child

If your child requires orthodontics between ages two and six, the primary goal is to use dental appliances to correct problems and aid you and your child in eliminating bad habits, such as frequent thumb sucking or pacifier use.

With early intervention, your child’s dentist works to ensure that both dental arches are the appropriate width. With proper width, once your child starts to grow their permanent teeth, there will be enough room for them to come in properly.

Seeing your Ontario children's dentist on a regular schedule helps to keep your child’s oral health in good condition. Whether they need early orthodontic treatment or just general examinations and cleanings, this will go a long way in helping your child to achieve a confident smile. Just be sure to choose the best kids dentist so that you are both comfortable during the appointments.