What is a Space Maintainer?
A Space maintainer is an appliance designed to preserve a space that must remain open for an unerupted adult tooth. A space maintainer usually replaces one or more teeth.
The design of a space maintainer consists of a metal band that hugs around a tooth and a metal loop preserving the space where a tooth is missing. (see picture below).
Why your child may need a Space Maintainer
Children may need a space maintainer if the deciduous (baby) tooth needs to be removed permanently due to dental trauma or disease. Other reasons may be an abscess, or the tooth may be knocked out from trauma. Baby teeth are important to the development of adult teeth, jaw bones and muscles. They help to guide permanent teeth into position. If the space is not maintained the other teeth can shift into the open space which can cause crowding and problems with the adult tooth erupting. It usually results in the need for orthodontic treatment in future. Not all lost baby teeth or dental decay teeth require a space maintainer. A consultation with our Oral Health Professional will determine if a space maintainer is needed.
Wearing of a Space Maintainer
The space maintainer is made by our onsite Laboratory Technician. The appliance is fixed with orthodontic cement to a tooth next to where the space is. It is important to avoid chewy sugary foods, gum and candy. These foods may loosen or get caught on the appliance. Space maintainers should not be pressed on with the tongue or fingers. When the adult tooth starts to erupt it can sometimes push the appliance off or it made have to be removed by a professional. It may take the child a few days to become accustomed to wearing the appliance.
Keeping it clean
The Oral Health Professional will go through the correct technique of brushing and how to floss the space maintainer so it does not get dislodged or cause damage to other teeth.
Space Maintainer Process
Your child is required to have blue rubber ring spacers placed between the problem tooth and a siding tooth 1 week prior to having an impression. This is so we can gain space to fit the metal band around the siding tooth and construct the space maintainer. Once the appliance has been assembled the child will have an appointment to have the infected tooth removed and the space maintainer cemented into its place.share