Does My Child Need a Space Maintainer?
As your child grows and develops, so does their mouth. More specifically, their teeth change as they transition from baby to more permanent, or adult. Sometimes, however, baby teeth are lost prematurely or adult teeth fail to erupt on time.
This can lead to certain oral health complications for your child such as possible overcrowding or loosening of teeth.
To stop the movement of adjacent teeth, our pediatric dentists will recommend your child receive a space maintainer. In a nutshell, a space maintainer is a dental appliance that manages the premature loss of baby teeth. It also prevents the onset of problems regarding the development of your child’s jaw.
Whether or not a space maintainer is required for your child depends on their stage of development and the informed recommendation of our qualified team of pediatric dentists. An appliance of this nature is only placed if it will benefit your child and their oral development.
Continue reading to learn about why space maintainers are used and the various types.
Reason For a Space Maintainer
In general, you don’t want permanent teeth erupting into the empty space left by a baby tooth that was lost ahead of schedule. Space maintainers help prevent this from happening.
The primary reason why your child may require a space maintainer is recentor extraction.
Premature Tooth Loss or Extraction
Sometimes baby teeth fall out too early due to an accident and other times they need to be extracted because of decay. For example, your child may lose a tooth if they trip and fall or experience mouth trauma while playing sports.
It is less likely, though not uncommon, for childhood cavities to result in tooth extraction. Baby tooth enamel tends to be more fragile than permanent teeth so they can fall victim to cavities if not cared for properly.
A space maintainer can be used in either instance to temporarily keep open necessary space and prevent any misalignment or overcrowding of teeth.
Types of Space Maintainers
Depending on what is best for your child at the moment, a specific type of space maintainer will be recommended by our doctors. There are 2 main categories of space maintainers and those include.
Let’s briefly go through each type so you can familiarize yourself with each option.
- Fixed Unilateral Appliances: only maintains space on one side of your child’s mouth. Includes the band and loop maintainer as well as the distal shoe.
- Fixed Bilateral Appliances: placed after teeth are lost on both sides of the mouth. Includes the transpalatal arch (TPA), lingual arch, and Nance arch.
Let’s Discuss Your Child’s Oral Health
Have more questions about space maintainers and want to know if your child would benefit from one? Our team of pediatric dentists in Grandville, MI, are available to speak with you in depth about what is right for your child’s oral health in the long term.