If your child’s tooth has come out too soon because of decay or an accident, it is important to maintain the space to prevent future space loss and dental problems when permanent teeth begin to come in. Without the use of a space maintainer, the teeth that surround the open space can shift, impeding the permanent tooth’s eruption. When that happens, the need for orthodontic treatment may become greater.
Space maintainers can be removable or fixed. If the child is older and can reliably follow directions, a removable space maintainer can be a good option.
Fixed space maintainers come in many designs. We may choose one based on the specifics of the condition and the child.
There are some general rules for taking care of the space maintainer appliance.
- The child should avoid sticky foods, including candy and chewing gum.
- Encourage the child not to push or tug on the space maintainer with the fingers or tongue.
- Keep the child’s space maintainer clean through effective brushing and flossing.
- The child should continue to see the pediatric dentist for regular dental visits.