How Are Space Maintainers Helpful in The Long Run for Kids?

How Are Space Maintainers Helpful in The Long Run for Kids?

Aug 01, 2022

Have you ever had to rush your child to an emergency pediatric dentist in Roanoke due to a dental injury? Toddlers and pre-teens can get into significant oral-related complications that can cause long-term problems. Premature tooth loss, for instance, can be a huge factor in oral health. It can cause problems like high cases of impacted teeth, a crowded mouth, improperly aligned jaw, and spaces between teeth, among others. Fortunately, pediatric dentistry provides various solutions like space maintainers that can contribute to great oral health for kids.

What Are Space Maintainers?

They are oral appliances featuring metal or acrylic that save spaces left behind after tooth loss. Ideally, they fill in the gap of the missing tooth, until a new one can erupt. It is why space maintainers are for children’s teeth. When your child loses a baby tooth early, they need a space maintainer as a temporary placeholder for the permanent tooth. Various factors can result in premature tooth loss for children, including the following:

  1. Dental injury or accident
  2. Dental decay
  3. Poor oral habits like long-term pacifier use, teeth grinding, and thumb sucking

When Do Kids Need Space Maintainers?

If your child has yet to lose all his/her baby teeth, they are still a perfect candidate for space maintainers in Roanoke, VA. The appliances work perfectly for children until all their permanent teeth have grown. Talk to a pediatric dentist near you if your child begins to lose baby teeth too early or if adult teeth take too long to erupt. Some factors that can delay tooth eruption are:

  1. Genetic conditions and abnormalities like Down syndrome or amelogenesis imperfecta.
  2. Family history – some families take longer to erupt teeth than others.
  3. Underlying health problems
  4. A tooth in the path of eruption
  5. Insufficient space in the dental arch
  6. Dental infections
  7. Low birthweight
  8. Nutritional deficiencies

Since various factors can delay the natural process of tooth eruption in children, ensure you visit a pediatric dental office in Roanoke to have your child examined. Only a pediatric dentist can evaluate the underlying cause, making the appropriate prognosis for the problems.

How Do Space Maintainers Work?

Space maintainers work by saving space in the mouth for teeth to erupt properly. Ideally, when you lose a tooth or two, there is a noticeable gap in your jawbone. If another tooth does not erupt soon, the remaining teeth will begin to shift to fill the space. The shifting of teeth introduces a new dental problem regarding dental alignment.

When teeth shift, they change both jaw and teeth alignments. Therefore, a dentist in 24018 places a space maintainer in the available gap to prevent the remaining teeth from moving. The maintainer will stay in place until another tooth begins to erupt. Besides, Dr. Cristelle Rodriguez at Kids First Dental will use the opportunity to guide the direction of the growing tooth. It will help properly align your teeth, sparing you the need for future orthodontic treatments.

Different Types of Space Maintainers

Space maintainers can either be fixed or removable. Either way, they are only temporary appliances. There are typically four types of space maintainers you can choose for your child’s treatment:

  1. Unilateral space maintainers –typically wrap around an existing tooth, fitting in one side of the mouth.
  2. Crown and loop space maintainers – are similar to unilateral maintainers. The difference is that instead of a metal wrapping around the existing tooth, this type of space maintainer entails a dental crown over it.
  3. Distal shoe space maintainers – are particular for saving space for the first permanent molar. These maintainers fit into the gum line to create space big enough for a molar to erupt.
  4. Lingual space maintainers – are perfect space maintainers for multiple baby teeth. A dentist will cement the appliance to the insides of molars, then use a metal wire to connect them to the lower front teeth.

How Long Will a Child Need a Space Maintainer?

Space maintainers are not for long-term use. They provide temporary placeholders for permanent teeth. Your pediatric dentist will be ready to remove the maintainer once the adult tooth erupts.

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