Keep Your Child’s Teeth In Place
If your child loses a baby tooth early, a space maintainer is essential for keeping their mouth healthy and ensuring proper oral development. At Molly Hottenstein Orthodontics, Dr. Hottenstein can help your child get the treatment they need in Wyomissing, and ensure their mouth can stay healthy and develop properly. Learn more below, or contact us now for a consultation.
Understanding The Basics
What Are Space Maintainers?
Space maintainers, as the name implies, are used to maintain proper spacing between your child’s teeth when they’ve lost a baby tooth early. You may think that, since baby teeth fall out naturally, it’s not a big deal if your child’s baby tooth falls out early.
But if your child’s tooth is knocked out or has to be extracted early because of a cavity or tooth infection, this can cause serious oral development issues in the future. This is because your child’s baby teeth form the “paths” that the adult teeth will follow when they begin to emerge.
If your child loses a tooth early, the surrounding teeth can shift, and the adult teeth may not erupt properly, which can result in serious oral development issues that may require extensive orthodontic treatment. A space maintainer helps eliminate this issue, saving you and your child a lot of time, money, and headaches.
Space maintainers are small devices made out of plastic or metal that are placed between your child’s teeth where their missing tooth used to be. By preventing the other teeth from moving, the space maintainer keeps the proper gap between the teeth, ensuring your child’s mouth develops properly in the future.
Typically, space maintainers are permanently placed by a dentist. While removable space maintainers are available, they are not usually recommended for young kids, who will likely fail to wear them consistently.
Total Treatment Time
How Long Do Space Maintainers Stay In?
This depends on your child, which tooth they’ve lost, and how early they’ve lost it. They may need to keep the space maintainer for just a few months or up to several years, depending on the situation.
Usually, the space maintainer will be removed when the adult tooth in the area begins to erupt and emerge. This is done to ensure the adult tooth emerges properly, and is not blocked by the space maintainer.
During your child’s routine dental appointments with Dr. Hottenstein, she will take x-rays of your child’s mouth and check their smile to see if their permanent tooth is erupting. If it is, she will remove the space maintainer right away.
What To Expect
Are Space Maintainers Painful?
No. Space maintainers are not painful at all. Usually, they consist of a metal bracket that attaches to one tooth, with a loop-shaped piece of wire that will press against the other adjacent tooth to prevent the teeth from moving.
When your child gets their space maintainer, they may feel a little bit uncomfortable while it’s placed, and it might take some time for them to get used to how the device feels inside their mouth. However, they won’t feel any significant pain or discomfort. Schedule your child's space maintainer appointment today with our Wyomissing orthodontist.