A space maintainer is a custom made appliance that is fitted permanently in your child’s mouth. The spaced maintainer’s main purpose is to prevent shifting of surrounding teeth so that the permanent teeth can erupt properly. Space maintainers can help to prevent a variety of orthodontic problems from developing over time. They are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic procedures and treatments.
The reason a space maintainer may be needed is because your child is currently missing one or more of their baby teeth. Baby teeth act as placeholders, when a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth have a tendency to begin shifting out of place. This can cause the permanent teeth coming down to become crowded, misaligned, or even blocked. To prevent this from happening, a space maintainer is used.
Dr. Chris will examine your child’s teeth and dental age to determine if they may need a space maintainer. An appliance can help prevent serious crowding and misalignment that could result in malocclusion problems later.
To begin, we will custom-fit a space maintainer to your child’s teeth. No anesthesia or sedation is necessary, and the appointment is somewhat quick. Spacers are placed between teeth to create space for band placement. Stainless steel bands are placed on one or two of the back teeth; an impression is taken of your child’s mouth. The bands are removed and sent with the impression to the lab for fabrication of the space maintainer. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for the custom appliance to be made. Once ready, we get your child back in for a quick delivery appointment where the appliance is cemented in your child’s mouth. When the permanent tooth starts to erupt in the missing space, the space maintainer is removed. Often appointments can be combined with restorative appointments with the overall goal of minimizing the number of appointments. If you think your child might need a space maintainer and want to learn more about the procedure, call us today so that we can get your child in for a consultation.