If you have a missing tooth, space maintainers help hold the empty space and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. At Paseo Ranch Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in Glendale, Arizona, the expert dental team offers several types of space maintainers to meet your personalized dental needs. Call the office to schedule an appointment or use the online booking feature today.
Space maintainers are oral devices that hold an empty space for a permanent tooth that hasn’t yet erupted. You might be a good candidate for a space maintainer if you lose a baby tooth prematurely before the permanent tooth underneath is ready to erupt. Without a space maintainer, permanent teeth can shift into spaces in your mouth where they aren’t supposed to be.
There are two main types of space maintainers for children and teenagers, including:
Removable space maintainers are similar to orthodontic appliances. They might contain an artificial tooth that fills in an empty gap in your mouth. You can take a removable space maintainer out of your mouth when you eat, brush your teeth, or have your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist.
Your dentist can place a fixed space maintainer in your mouth to hold open a space for a permanent tooth. The device stays fixed in place until your dentist removes it after a permanent tooth begins to erupt.
To find out if you’re a good candidate for a space maintainer and which type is best for you, your dentist reviews your oral health history and takes dental X-rays. They examine your mouth, teeth, and gums and discuss your lifestyle and preferences. Your provider digitally scans your teeth to develop a custom-fit fixed or removable space maintainer that fits your mouth perfectly.
When your custom-fit space maintainer is ready, your dentist ensures it fits comfortably inside your mouth. They can bond a fixed spacer to teeth surrounding an empty gap as needed. Follow your dentist’s instructions regarding how often to wear a removable space maintainer and how to clean it to avoid cavity-causing plaque and tartar buildup.
Brush your teeth at least two times daily, floss every day, and don’t chew on ice or other hard objects. If you have a fixed space maintainer, avoid chewy and sugary foods, candy, and gum that can get stuck in the appliance. Don’t place pressure on the spacer with your fingers or tongue.
See the Paseo Ranch Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics team regularly so your dentist can monitor the progress of your treatment. Attend routine dental cleanings and exams at least every six months.
To maintain optimal oral health and prevent permanent teeth shifting after losing a baby tooth prematurely, call the office at Paseo Ranch Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.