Space MaintainersBurbank, CA
Baby teeth are an important part of a child’s current and future dental health. When baby teeth are prematurely lost, space maintainers help keep the surrounding teeth in their normal positions. This interceptive orthodontic treatment is important for preventing future space loss and dental issues.
We provide space maintainers at Star Kids Dental & Orthodontics in Burbank and the surrounding area. Our team can handle all of your child’s orthodontic and dental needs. Call us today at 818-483-9064 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Understanding Space Maintainers
Space maintainers are dental devices we place on the upper or lower arch to hold the space of a prematurely lost baby tooth. When a child loses a baby tooth too early, the permanent teeth can erupt in the incorrect space. Space maintainers help keep the open space left by the missing teeth and allow permanent teeth to erupt correctly.
There are two types of space maintainers, fixed and removable. Fixed space maintainers are a good option for children since they are easy to care for and are less likely to get damaged or lost. A dentist cements this fixed device onto adjacent teeth. We do not typically recommend removable space maintainers for children. Although they have the same function as fixed ones, they are more frequently lost or broken.
Why Space Maintainers
Injury or disease can cause the premature loss of a baby tooth. When this occurs, the surrounding permanent teeth can drift into the space reserved for another tooth. Without a space maintainer, teeth may erupt incorrectly or be blocked entirely and result in crowded or crooked teeth.
Usually, permanent teeth use baby teeth as a guide to erupt in the proper place. Without a space maintainer, the missing tooth can cause a permanent tooth to come in at an angle or move out of alignment. Although a natural tooth is the best space maintainer, interceptive orthodontic treatment can help children develop the best bite possible after premature tooth loss. Research has found that space maintainers can help eliminate or reduce the severity of a developing malocclusion, the complexity of orthodontic treatment, and the overall treatment time and cost.
Space maintainers consist of plastic or metal. Whether the space maintainer is fixed or removable, it is custom made to fit in the patient’s mouth. Before placing the space maintainers, we will take impressions of the mouth to copy the space and adjacent teeth. As a dentist and orthodontist, we can determine if space maintainers are the most effective choice for the client.
The dental lab receives the impressions and uses them to create the space maintainer. After it arrives at the office, the space maintainer is shaped and adjusted as needed. After achieving the proper shape and fit, cementing will bond the device to the tooth.
Caring for Space Maintainers
Brushing and flossing the space around a fixed space maintainer must happen after each meal. Good oral hygiene is essential to prevent plaque buildup and stop the surrounding teeth from being eaten by decay. Special orthodontic flossers can help make cleaning the space maintainer easier. Avoid sugary and chewy foods that can loosen or get caught on the fixed device.
Children with removable space maintainers should make sure to remove their devices while brushing. Separately brushing removable space maintainers prevents odor and bacteria from building up. It is also important to refrain from pushing or pressing the space maintainers with the tongue or fingers, which can loosen or bend the device. Patients with these devices should come to see us regularly so that we can monitor their progress.
Space Maintainer Removal
Space maintainers are not permanent. Children will wear them until X-rays reveal that the permanent teeth are ready to erupt naturally. Typically, space maintainer removal occurs once the new tooth pierces the gum tissue.
Removing a space maintainer is a simple process, so long as it is completed by a professional. We will use band removing pliers to pull the space maintainer off the teeth. In other cases, we may use a drill to cut the band surrounding the teeth. This process is quick and painless, with no need for sedation or local anesthetics.
Call Us Today
Space maintainers can prevent the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in the future. Our team at Star Kids Dental & Orthodontics can help. Call us today at 818-483-9064 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do space maintainers hurt?
Space maintainers do not move the teeth. There should not be any pain or discomfort associated with these devices. If a patient experiences pain or discomfort, this could be a sign of a problem, and parents should contact our office.
What happens if a space maintainer becomes loose?
Parents should contact our office immediately if the space maintainer becomes loose. If the space maintainer comes completely loose and falls out, place it somewhere safe. This device is easily re-cemented as long as it is not bent or damaged. Delays in re-cementing the space maintainer can result in the need for a new one.
Are space maintainers always necessary?
Not every prematurely lost tooth will require a space maintainer. If one of the four upper front teeth is lost, the space may remain open until the permanent tooth comes in. Children with ectodermal dysplasia, a congenital disease where some baby teeth have no permanent teeth replacement, may receive a partial denture instead.
Are space maintainers comfortable?
There may be a period of discomfort when a child first receives their space maintainer. This accommodation period can last for a few days to a week. It is normal to experience some difficulty talking, but after a week, the space maintainer will become hardly noticeable.
How often do space maintainers need to be checked?
Children with space maintainers should receive a periodic evaluation at least every six months. We will examine the patient’s bite, the fit of the bands, and tooth eruption progress. Failure to attend these examinations can result in cavities, gum problems, and crooked teeth.
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