Space maintainer is an appliance used to maintain space for the eruption of permanent teeth after early loss of a baby tooth. Space maintainer prevents future problems in the alignment of erupting permanent teeth.
What to do if a child loses baby teeth earlier than normal?
There are many causes for a child to lose baby teeth. It could be normal exfoliation of teeth when permanent teeth come in. It could be because of infection due to a cavity, trauma, etc. Losing a baby tooth early and left untreated may predispose a child to future problems. There will be loss of space for erupting permanent tooth, forward movement of teeth behind missing baby tooth, etc.
A dentist can fabricate a space maintainer and can prevent all these problems from occurring.
Why do children need space maintainers?
Space maintainers are fixed or removable appliances used to maintain space created by the loss of a tooth. Space maintainers are mostly used in children who loose one or more teeth earlier than normal time of exfoliation. Space maintainers are used to prevent movement of adjacent teeth into the space created by the loss of a tooth while allowing a permanent tooth to erupt. Space maintainers are also used to maintain space for implant restorations.
How long does one need to keep space maintainer for?
Space maintainers are kept until the permanent tooth is ready for eruption. Space maintainers could be used for a few months to a few years as needed. Regular follow-up with the dentist is needed to make sure the space maintainer is removed at the right time.
Does space maintainer cause pain?
No, space maintainers do not cause any pain. Space maintainers are custom fabricated for every individual. There are no sharp edges and they adapt to the teeth very well. For the first few days, it may feel different.