Are Space Maintainers Really Necessary?

An adorable preschool age little boy smiles for the camera as he stands in his preschool classroom and gives a thumbs up. He loves school!

When a child loses a baby tooth too early, our dentists may recommend a space maintainer to prevent future space loss and dental problems.

What are space maintainers?

Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It’s more affordable—and easier on your child—to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.

Why does my child need space maintainers?

A baby tooth usually stays in until permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a baby tooth too soon. A tooth might be knocked out accidentally or removed because of dental disease.

Baby teeth are important because they encourage normal development of the jaw bone and muscles. And they save space for your permanent teeth. Some children don’t lose all their baby teeth until they’re in middle school, so maintaining enough space in their mouths for adult teeth is important!

If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may tilt or drift into the empty space. Teeth in the lower jaw may move up or down to fill the gap. When adjacent teeth shift into empty space, they create a lack of space in the jaw for permanent teeth.

So, permanent teeth are crowded and come in crooked. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive orthodontic treatment.

What special care do space maintainers need?

Kid’s Dentistree has four simple rules for space maintainer care:

  1. Avoid sticky sweets or chewing gum.
  2. Don’t tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue.
  3. Keep it clean with conscientious brushing
  4. Continue regular dental visits.

Questions? Let’s chat!

If you have more questions about space maintainers or would like to schedule an exam at one of our convenient locations, open an online chat with us now by tapping the chat button on your screen.

We hope to see you soon!

Posted in: General Oral Health

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