Space Maintainers

Space maintainers help hold the location for adult teeth if a primary tooth is lost early.

Orthodontics Space Maintainers

Problems can arise when baby teeth fall out prematurely if they are not properly maintained. In these cases, a pediatric orthodontist will place a space maintainer in your child’s mouth to ensure their adult teeth grow properly. Space maintainers help “hold space” for permanent teeth, preventing adult teeth from growing into empty spaces. This can lead to overcrowding and other dental problems as primary teeth fall out and adult teeth replace them.

Sometimes, children lose their baby teeth early due to trauma, congenital disabilities, accidents, or decay. There are different types of space maintainers, so your child’s orthodontist will recommend a specific one based on your child’s situation.

At Montvale Orthodontics, we can provide pediatric space maintainers for your child to ensure their permanent teeth grow correctly.

graphic of space maintainer on jaw
  • What are the different types of space maintainers?

    There are two categories of pediatric space maintainers, each including different types of maintainers. The first category is fixed space maintainers, semi-permanent tooth fixtures that keep enough space open for adult teeth to grow in. Once the adult teeth come in, the maintainer is removed.

    There are four types of fixed space maintainers: crown and loop, distal shoe, lingual, and unilateral. Crown and loop maintainers consist of a crown placed over one tooth and a stainless steel wire loop that presses against the tooth on the opposite side of the gap to keep it open. Distal shoe maintainers are used for permanent first molars that have not grown yet. They require more care and attention from the dentist and are usually inserted into the gum line after a premature baby molar has fallen out. Lingual maintainers use wire and crowns to maintain spacing across several tooth gaps, and they are most often used for children with congenital disabilities. Unlike the crown and loop treatment, unilateral maintainers use a wire to keep space between two teeth. Still, the difference is that unilateral maintainers use a wire wrapped around the teeth on either side of the gap.

    The second category of maintainers is removable space maintainers. These maintainers are a good option if your child’s tooth is ready to grow. They are usually made of acrylic and can be fitted with a fake tooth. Removable maintainers make it easier for your child to maintain good oral hygiene habits. However, the downside is that they are less effective at maintaining space than fixed devices.

  • How long do space maintainers last?

    Pediatric space maintainers last until the permanent teeth come in–they act as a replacement holder for teeth that are lost early.

    It is important for space maintainers that regular brushing and dental check-ups take place.

  • Are space maintainers painful?

    Space maintainers should not cause any pain or discomfort. If your child experiences pain, it could indicate a problem, so please schedule an appointment with our dental office.

  • Do space maintainers need to be removed?

    Yes, a dental space maintainer should be removed when the permanent tooth is ready to come into place. Dr. Oh will know when the time is right to remove the space maintainer.

More Questions?

If you have more questions about space-maintaining appliances, please contact our office, request an appointment for your child, or explore the other services we provide.

Montvale Orthodontics

305 W Grand Ave, Suite 600
Montvale, NJ 07645
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