Dental Space Maintainers
Procedure Purpose & Overview
Space maintainers are necessary for the development of teeth, as they are used to hold or “maintain” the space to allow space for permanent teeth to erupt after a primary tooth has been extracted prematurely
When primary teeth are extracted early due to significant decay, there are likely years before the permanent tooth will erupt. When leaving those spaces or gaps in between teeth for such a long period of time, there is a chance of the remaining teeth shifting or moving into the empty space. Space maintainers (or spacers) are appliances that hold teeth in position and prevent shifting to keep the space for permanent molars to erupt.
Once the permanent tooth or teeth start erupting then we will remove the appliance.
First we try on appropriate band sizes on the teeth it will be cemented to. Then we will make an impression of the teeth using dental impression material. Once the impression has been made we send it to a lab to fabricate or make the custom space maintainer.
No, it is not removable. It will be cemented onto the appropriate tooth/teeth.
The band(s) are cemented on the appropriate tooth or teeth using dental cement.
Spacers are not meant to move or shift any teeth, so there is usually no pain associated with the spacer. Once placed, children will typically get used to them quickly.
Teeth can move or shift which can cause space loss, making it difficult for adult teeth to erupt. Therefore, there is a large chance your child will need braces in the future.
How to care for space maintainers:
- Avoid sticky candy, fruit snacks, chewing gum, and taffy.
- Brush and floss daily to keep it clean
- Make sure your child is not trying to push or pull on the appliance with their tongue or fingers
- See your dentist twice a year or more if advised by your dentist
Whether an accident happens during our normal business hours or not, know that you can call us and have your child treated promptly.
Call our office at 757-703-1923. If it is after hours or on the weekend, one of our doctors or a team member will get back to you.