Here at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry, we can perform space maintenance work to protect your child’s dental health and ensure the continued proper development of your child’s teeth.
In pediatric (child) dentistry, a procedure to “maintain space” between teeth may be necessary when a primary tooth is lost to an accident or disease. If a child loses a tooth prematurely and measures are not taken to maintain the space where the lost tooth had been, other teeth often grow into the empty space and create a variety of dental problems. If left untreated, a more extensive intervention such as orthodontic work may be necessary.
Why Space Maintenance May Be Necessary
Accidents are common in childhood, as are cavities and other adverse dental conditions. While a child’s baby teeth, known in the profession as primary teeth, come out naturally to be replaced by permanent teeth, when they are removed too early, they can cause problems with adjacent teeth and the future permanent teeth that will grow in their place.
Typical Space Maintenance Procedures
Space maintainers are similar to orthodontic objects. The objective of these space maintainers is to hold open the space between the teeth where the primary tooth had been so that the permanent teeth grow into the mouth in the correct position.
These come in two varieties: removable and fixed space maintainers. Removable space maintainers are typically made of acrylic and can be taken out of the mouth when necessary. Fixed space maintainers stay in place until the dentist removes them.
Fixed space maintainers are made differently depending on the type of tooth and other factors. Different types of fixed space maintainers are called distal, crown loop, lingual, and unilateral.
Installing and Wearing the Space Maintainer
To make sure the space maintainer will fit appropriately and as comfortably as possible, the dentist will make a mold of the child’s mouth to form a customized space maintainer. After the device has been fitted to the mouth, the child will still need a while to get adjusted to it. If the space maintainer is removable, it will likely be necessary to monitor the child and provide encouragement to keep the device in place.
Rules for Space Maintainer Care
Regular check-ups are needed to make sure the space maintainer continues to function properly and remains in place.
The dentist will go over all the best practices and things to avoid while the space maintainer is in the mouth. As always, proper cleaning with a toothbrush regularly is vital to keeping the mouth free of plaque and other unwanted debris.
For fixed space maintainers, sticky foods should be avoided to ensure that the device stays in the correct position.
We understand how important your child’s dental health is, both now and in the future. When you entrust your child’s care to us, we take that trust seriously. Our expert dentists utilize the most advanced technology in a clean, friendly environment so that you and your child have the best possible dental experience. Our office can be reached for appointments at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry at (808) 201-9956