When do I need a space maintainer?
Normally baby teeth are pushed out as the adult teeth erupt. Sometimes, a baby tooth is lost too early. It can be be lost due to trauma or sometimes pulled out by the dentist due to infection or severe decay. When a primary tooth is lost prematurely, the pediatric dentist may recommend putting a space maintainer in your child's mouth. The space maintainer will prevent the tooth around the empty space from drifting or tilting forward. It will hold, or maintain, the space so the adult tooth can erupt properly and in the right spot. This will help prevent crowding and more extensive orthodontic needs.
What is a space maintainer?
There are different types of space maintainers. The most common type is small, custom fit bad that is fit to the tooth behind the empty space. Another small wire or band will extend to the tooth in front of the gap. There are also other kids which your pediatric dentist can discuss with you. They are fairly small and unobtrusive. Most kids adjust to them quickly and hardly notice they are there.
How do I take care of a space maintainer?
For the most part care for a space maintainer is not too different then routine care. The child should continue routine brushing and flossing. A little extra time spent brushing around the band will help prevent any gingival inflammation. Sticky sweets and gums should be avoided. The child should also try and avoid pulling on it with their fingers or playing it with their tongue. Finally, continue with your routine dental check ups. When the adult tooth is close to erupting the pediatric dentist will remove the space maintainer.
My spacer came off, what should I do?
If your child's spacer comes off do not throw it away, rinse it with water and put it in a container to bring to your pediatric dentist. Call your pediatric dental office to make and appointment to have it reset. While not an emergency, it is best not to wait too long before having it replaced. Waiting too long may result in the teeth moving and the spacer will not longer fit properly.