Ever heard a dentist say, “Your child needs a space maintainer?” If yes, then you may be looking for some more information about what they are and how they work.
A space maintainer is an orthodontic device that orthodontists and pediatric dentists use to hold space for permanent teeth when children lose their baby teeth prematurely.
A child can lose their baby teeth due to trauma, injury, and at times, extractions which are done to remove a severely decayed tooth. This leaves an empty space in the baby's mouth until the permanent teeth erupt. However, premature baby tooth loss means that it is still time for the adult teeth to come out, and till that time, this space has to be maintained. If not, the space will be closed as the remaining teeth will shift and drift to close this space. The permanent tooth cannot come out properly in its intended location when this happens. It may not come out at all and becomes impacted in some cases. This leads to orthodontic misalignment and crooked teeth.
This is where space maintainers come into the picture. The job of a space maintainer is to maintain the space left by the baby tooth while guiding the permanent teeth into their proper position. These dental appliances prevent teeth from shifting and drifting, which in turn prevents malocclusions from occurring.
Space maintainers can be made from metal, acrylic, or both. These can be fixed or removable.
Types of fixed space maintainers
- Crown and loop
- Distal shoe
- Lingual holding arch
- Nance appliance
- Transpalatal arch
Space maintainers form a crucial part of preventive orthodontics and help prevent future dental complications. Please get in touch with us at Wilmington Orthodontic Center for further information. Our team of excellent dental professionals will be there to assist you!