What are Space Maintainers


With children, it can be a gamble on what might pop up concerning their oral health. They can get into accidents causing them to knock out a tooth, they end up getting a cavity, etc. When incidents like this occur where a child loses a tooth, it may be necessary for them to get space maintainers. In short, these will ensure the integrity of the other teeth, the gum where the tooth was lost, and the bone stay in tact.

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are used to keep an empty space where a tooth was lost, the same as it would be had the tooth never been lost. Losing a baby tooth too soon, knocking out an adult tooth, etc. can all be cause for space maintainers to come into play. These are popularly made out of acrylic or metal and are custom created for each patient in order that the space is properly filled.

Space maintainers can be fixed or removable. The type that are used usually depends largely on the circumstances. The dental professional will suggest the option best for the patient and their needs or circumstances. There are four different types of fixed space maintainers that are referred to as unilateral, lingual, loop, and distal shoe. The removeable option will often look like a retainer or fake tooth. However, the fixed options each have a various way they work and attach which cater to various needs of the patient.

What Are the Importance of Space Maintainers?

Teeth in general (even baby teeth) are vital to a child’s development. If they lose a tooth prematurely, this could cause them to struggle with certain developmental stages. For example, learning to chew properly leads them to learning and growing their tongue muscles properly, as well as speaking properly. Even the loss of one tooth can cause some trouble with this. Space maintainers ensure that development isn’t hindered.

Another issue that can occur with tooth loss is that it may cause issues for adult teeth when they try to come in. If an open space isn’t maintained, teeth can move, filling in the spot, making it difficult for the adult tooth to erupt properly through the gum. This can also cause crowding, crooked teeth, etc. These issues can lead to other problems of their own such as decay, speech impediments, and so on.

Space maintainers do not usually cause any pain or discomfort to the patient utilizing them. They are definitely a great tool when it comes to preserving your child’s teeth no matter what accident or issue may come along causing them to lose a tooth or two. The space maintainer may take extra care which the dental professional will cover once it’s in place. As usual, with any additions like this, it will take a couple of days to get used to it.