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. Dr. Naomi 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. Contact your Southborough pediatric dentist today to see if your child needs space mainenance.
At your consultation, Dr. Naomi will decide if a space maintainer is necessary and beneficial for your child. First, Dr. Naomi 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.
Dr. Naomi 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, Dr. Naomi will securely place the space maintainer onto two adjacent teeth. Once your child’s dental appliance is securely fixed, Dr. Naomi will check for proper fit to ensure maximum comfort.
Schedule a follow-up appointment in Southborough with Dr. Naomi every 4-8 weeks to monitor progress. Eventually, the space maintainer will be removed as the adult teeth begin to develop and erupt.
A removable space maintainer uses artificial teeth or acrylic blocks to fill in a large space between the adjacent teeth. If your child can reliably follow directions and be trusted to care for their appliance, removable space maintainers may be a good fit for their smile and lifestyle.
As a fixed appliance that is cemented in place, this unilateral space maintainer wraps around the tooth and connects to a metal loop used to hold the space intact.
This space maintainer uses a dental crown to cap the tooth and is attached to a metal loop to ensure that there is a space for the erupting tooth. The crown and loop is a fixed appliance that is securely bonded to the tooth.
If your child’s adult molar teeth have yet to erupt, a distal shoe appliance can be inserted into the gum line to keep the adjacent teeth from crowding and closing the space.
The lower lingual holding arch or a nance appliance can be cemented to the molar teeth to provide space for one or more missing teeth. A wire or an acrylic button connects it to the inside of the lower front teeth to keep the appliance in place.
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.
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 as soon as possible.
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.
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.