When a child loses a tooth before their permanent teeth come through, it can cause significant problems later. With no tooth in place, the remaining teeth move to fill the space, which means there's not enough room for other teeth to come through. Space maintainers are orthodontic devices that prevent this from happening, and they're one of the many services offered by Jihee Chun, DDS, and the team at Dental Kidz Club. Call one of their office locations in Perris, Brea, Corona, Covina, Ontario, and Riverside, California, to request an appointment and begin your child's preventive care today.
If your child loses a tooth before a permanent tooth grows in to replace it, your provider at Dental Kidz Club uses a space maintainer — an orthodontic device — to prevent the remaining teeth from moving into the gap left behind by the removed tooth. Maintaining this gap is essential as the permanent tooth needs to have space to erupt once it’s ready.
A child may need a space maintainer for several reasons, including tooth loss because of injury or trauma, or early tooth extraction because of tooth decay or overcrowding.
Space maintainers steady the teeth on either side of the gap left by the extracted tooth. Without it, the teeth could drift or tilt, creating an overcrowded jaw, which means permanent teeth come in crooked. This can lead to extensive orthodontic treatment when your child is older.
Space maintainers are either fixed or removable. A fixed space maintainer is cemented onto the teeth on either side of the gap and can be removed only by your dentist. A removable space maintainer resembles a retainer and may have a false tooth attached.
Removable space maintainers are more suited to older children, while fixed space maintainers are typically used for younger children so they can’t accidentally pull it out.
Fixed space maintainers are custom-made and fitted to your child’s mouth. There are several different types available.
A band-and-loop device is a metal wire held in place with orthodontic bands, which leaves the permanent tooth room to erupt. It’s suitable for when a child loses one or more molars in one dental arch.
This device has a metal “shoe” that fits over the adjacent molar and a wire extension that prevents the teeth on either side of the gap from closing in.
A lingual holding arch is a horseshoe-shaped device that maintains space for the lower back teeth on both sides of a dental arch.
A transpalatal arch fits onto the upper dental arch and maintains space for the back molars.
Space maintainers are an effective, inexpensive, and gentle way of maintaining aligned teeth. If your child needs one, the team at Dental Kidz Club can talk you through your options. Call your nearest office today to book an appointment.