Prescott Valley, AZ
When a child loses a tooth prematurely due to decay or an accident sometimes we suggest that a space maintainer be used to ensure that their adult teeth have enough room to erupt properly. Because of how frequently children lose teeth and how important proper dental development is in early life, space maintainers provide are a valuable tool. At Bradshaw Family Dental, we take great pride in our ability to detect and prevent serious dental issues from arising, because saving our patient’s time and money is paramount.
When is a space maintainer needed?
A dental space maintainer is a device that can either be permanent or removable and is critical to the development of a healthy mouth. People often dismiss baby teeth as unimportant because they are temporary but nothing could be further from the truth. Baby teeth are absolutely critical to the ongoing development of the mouth. They act as placeholder for adult teeth and help to ensure that the constantly changing and elongating muscles of the mouth and jaw are guided into the correct place during early childhood development. When a baby tooth is lost prematurely there is a good chance that a space maintainer can save treatment time and money.
Types of Space Maintainers
There are two basic types of dental space maintainers, removable and fixed. Removable space maintainers are usually like other orthodontic appliances and are made from acrylic. Occasionally a false tooth will be used as a space maintainer. Fixed space maintainers fit one of four categories: crown and loop, lingual, distal shoe, and unilateral. Each of the four categories of fixed space maintainers fills a specific role.
Unilateral and crown and loop space maintainers are placed on one side of the mouth to hold a space for a single tooth. The unilateral option is fit around a tooth and has a metal loop that sits in the gap of the missing tooth. The hoop helps to fill the gap. Crown and loop options are essentially the same thing, but instead of a metal loop holding the gap open a crown holds the space.
Lingual space maintainers are bilateral appliances that are usually directly connected to molars using wires on the inside of the front teeth. Lingual space maintainers are used to hold the space of several missing teeth.
Distal shoe space maintainers are the most complicated of the permanent space maintainer options because they are actually inserted into the gum line to prevent neighboring teeth from filling the gap. Distal shoe space maintainers need more monitoring by Dr. Andrew Zeiger in order to time the eruption of the adult tooth perfectly.
With the use of space maintainers we are often able to prevent poor alignment issues from occurring, often resulting foregoing things like braces in the future. Our family focused approach to children’s dentistry is the best in our community.
Once the Space Maintainer is Placed
It can take several weeks for a child to get used to the feeling of a space maintainer. It is important that good oral hygiene is maintained while the appliance is in place. We will send you home with detailed instructions on how to care for your child and keep their new appliance clean and functioning properly.
Give us a call today at (928) 277-0076 to schedule your appointment.