What Are Space Maintainers?
Space maintainers are a type of dental prosthetic that are used to maintain the proper spacing in your smile after tooth loss. There are multiple types, but fixed “band and loop” space maintainers are the most common. A metal “band” fits around a healthy tooth, while another metal “loop” sits in the area where the missing tooth used to be. This prevents the tooth from shifting, and maintains the proper spacing in your smile.
When Are Space Maintainers Necessary?
At Elegant Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, space maintainers are most commonly used to replace baby teeth that have been lost early. Baby teeth are supposed to fall out naturally, of course. But if your child loses a baby tooth too soon, this can cause their teeth to shift toward the empty socket. In turn, this can cause problems when it’s time for their adult teeth to erupt.
And while they're commonly used for kids, space maintainers are also sometimes recommended for adults. For example, if you’ve lost a tooth and you want to get a dental implant but you’re not ready to commit to surgery, a space maintainer may be used to maintain the proper gap in your smile until you get your implant.
Or, in some cases, space maintainers may be used in teens and adults as part of the orthodontic treatment process. They can be helpful for preserving spaces in your smile, and can be used alongside braces for certain treatments, like correcting tooth overcrowding.
The Space Maintainer Placement Process
Consultation and diagnosis
First, you’ll meet with Dr. Javidi or Dr. Parsafar to get an oral exam and diagnosis. During your consultation, your dentist at Elegant Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics will determine if a space maintainer is appropriate for you or for your child.
Space maintainer fitting
If we recommend a space maintainer, we will take images and impressions of your smile or of your child’s smile. We will send this information to a dental lab. This is where the space maintainer will be built.
Final space maintainer placement
Once your custom space maintainer is finished, it will be sent back to our office. You and/or your child will come back into Elegant Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. Your dentist will check the fit, then attach the space maintainer permanently to the tooth.
Space maintainer removal
For kids, space maintainers are usually removed when their adult tooth begins to emerge. For adults, the removal time may vary. For example, you may have your space maintainer removed when it’s time to replace it with a dental implant, or when your orthodontic treatment plan requires the space maintainer to be removed.
Answering Your FAQs About Space Maintainers
How Do I Care For Space Maintainers?
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