Grandville Pediatric Dentists West Michigan

Does My Child Need a Space Maintainer?

space maintainers pediatric dentistry grandville mi

Does My Child Need a Space Maintainer?

space maintainers pediatric dentistry grandville mi

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 this movement, our Grandville, MI, pediatric dentists may 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.

Here’s why space maintainers are used and the various types.

Main 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 and keep everything where it needs to be until the time is right.

The primary reason why your child may require a space maintainer is recent premature tooth loss or extraction. In both situations, our pediatric dentists will want to act with some degree of urgency to make sure your child’s smile is kept on track.

Early Loss of Teeth or Tooth Removal

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 fixed unilateral and fixed bilateral.

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.

Will a Space Maintainer Cause Pain?

Like with any new dental appliance, your child may find that wearing a space maintainer for the first few days feels awkward and slightly annoying. It should not, however, result in any extreme discomfort or noticeable pain. If your child reports anything of the sort, please call our Grandville, MI, pediatric dental office and let us know so we can adjust the device.

Otherwise, to help them better adapt to the space maintainer, we recommend sticking to softer foods for a day or so to allow your child to get used to chewing and eating with it in place.

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 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. To request an appointment, please call Grandville Pediatric Dentistry today at (616) 531-3430.

This blog post has been updated.

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