Dental Space Maintainers
There is a common misconception that baby teeth are not as important as permanent adult teeth. In fact, primary teeth serve many purposes. In addition to helping your child experience adequate nutrition and form proper speech patterns, baby teeth also hold space and help guide adult teeth into the proper locations. If a primary tooth falls out too soon, adjacent teeth may shift into the resulting gap. If this occurs, there is no room for the permanent tooth to erupt. To prevent this issue, space maintainers are custom made by our lab for your child and used to hold the needed space for the permanent tooth. This simple appliance ensures a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles. Dr. David Spokane and Dr. Melissa Karski can determine if this solution is right for your child.
Children often lose primary teeth before they naturally fall out. When this happens, a space maintainer can help your child maintain a healthy smile both now and in adolescence.
Benefits of Dental Space Maintainers
Typically, children lose their first baby tooth after the age of four, and no later than the age of seven. During this time, the primary tooth loosens and falls out to make room for the permanent one. A space maintainer is a valuable option if any of your child’s primary teeth are lost before the adult teeth are ready to erupt. By keeping the space open, this device helps ensure proper development by guiding permanent teeth into place. In many cases, this can help prevent the need for braces in the future.
The need for dental space maintainers is determined on a case-by-case basis at our offices. While not every child who loses a tooth early will need one, they can be incredibly beneficial for some.
There are many reasons why a baby tooth may be lost prematurely. A space maintainer may be a solution if:
- Your child’s primary teeth were avulsed – or knocked out – due to a fall, accident, or another type of injury.
- Extractions were required to address advanced tooth decay.
- Your child suffers from certain metabolic disorders, blood diseases, or other conditions leading to premature tooth loss.
To find out if a dental space maintainer is right for your child, schedule an appointment at one of our six locations. We have the same staff and doctors at all six locations to better serve our patients in Cranberry Township, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Allegheny Counties.
How They Work
Dental space maintainers are custom-made from acrylic or metal and may be fixed or removable. Similar to orthodontic appliances, removable space maintainers may have an artificial tooth attached. When it comes to fixed space maintainers, there are a few different options:
- Band-and-loop: One of the most common types of dental space maintainers, the band-and-loop is composed of a biocompatible wire that is anchored by the adjacent tooth. This is accomplished with the use of an orthodontic band or dental crown.
- Lingual holding arch (LHA): Typically used to address multiple missing baby teeth, the LHA is connected by a wire on the inside of the front teeth. The space maintainer may also be cemented to molars for stability.
- Distal shoe appliance: When there is a non-erupted first molar, a distal shoe space maintainer can be placed just under the gums. This keeps the socket from closing over. Careful monitoring is necessary to ensure the device does not interfere with the natural eruption process.
Contact Karski & Spokane Orthodontics
Space maintainers can protect your child’s oral health and minimize the need for more extensive treatments later on. To find out if a dental space maintainer is right for your child, schedule an appointment at our practice. We are proud to offer in-house payment plans for your convenience. We also accept CareCredit® financing to help patients afford treatment. Contact us online or call our office nearest you for more information.