The Placement And Removal Process For Space Maintainers

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Understanding The Placement And Removal Process For Space Maintainers

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Space maintainers are an essential tool to ensure your child’s adult teeth grow into their mouth correctly. If your child loses a baby tooth earlier than expected, Dr. Kasey Stark may suggest the use of a space maintainer.

Are you interested in understanding the placement and removal process for space maintainers, how they function, and their importance? In this blog from Kids Tooth Team, we’ll guide you through the entire process and answer a few common FAQs about space maintainers. So, let's dive in!

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Why Would My Child Need A Space Maintainer?

Typically, your child’s baby teeth fall out naturally as their permanent teeth emerge and take their place. However, in some instances, your child may lose one or more of their baby teeth prematurely due to reasons like:

  • Dental injuries
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Tooth infections
  • Gum disease

When a baby tooth is lost early and a space maintainer isn’t used, the adjacent teeth may shift toward the empty space. This could cause problems when the adult teeth emerge, as the baby teeth help maintain the correct space for the adult teeth. If the teeth have shifted, the adult teeth might not erupt properly, leading to other complications.

If your child has lost one or more of their baby teeth prematurely, space maintainers are usually recommended by Dr. Kasey at Kids Tooth Team. These small devices apply pressure on the teeth to prevent them from shifting, ensuring your child’s adult teeth erupt without any issues.

What Type Of Space Maintainer Will My Child Get?

Most children will get a semi-permanent space maintainer, which can only be removed by a dentist. The most common type is a “band and loop” space maintainer. There are a few other types of semi-permanent space maintainers available, but they are only needed in certain situations.

Band and loop space maintainers are made of stainless steel. They consist of a steel band that wraps around one of your child’s teeth, similar to the molar bands used to hold braces in place. This band is attached to a loop of metal that presses against the tooth on the other side of the gap, maintaining the correct spacing between their teeth.

Removable space maintainers can also be an option. These are acrylic (plastic) space maintainers that can be removed at any time, like for brushing and flossing. They may be recommended if your child’s adult tooth is about to grow in, and a semi-permanent space maintainer is not necessary.

However, removable space maintainers are not recommended for most children, as they're not as effective at maintaining gaps, and some children may not be diligent about wearing a removable space maintainer. 

Understanding The Space Maintainer Placement Process

The space maintainer process requires two appointments at Kids Tooth Team. During your child’s first appointment, Dr. Kasey will examine their mouth. She will determine if a space maintainer is the right solution for them. In some cases, such as when the adult tooth is about to erupt, it may not be necessary to place a space maintainer.

Once she approves your child for a space maintainer, she’ll take impressions of their teeth and the gap in their smile. This information is sent to a dental lab, which will construct a space maintainer to maintain the correct gap in their smile. It may take several weeks for the lab to build the space maintainer and send it back to Kids Tooth Team.

When their space maintainer is ready, you’ll bring your child back to Kids Tooth Team for the final time. Dr. Kasey will check the fit of their space maintainer, then attach it to their tooth with dental cement so that it won’t move or shift. After this, you’ll be sent home.

How Long Will My Child Need To Keep Their Space Maintainer?

Once your child’s space maintainer is in place, it will stay until their adult tooth starts to emerge. During your child’s checkups at Kids Tooth Team, Dr. Kasey will monitor the progress of their adult teeth. When an adult tooth is about to erupt underneath the space maintainer, it will be removed to allow the tooth to emerge properly.

The length of time your child will keep their space maintainer varies. It depends on which adult tooth your child has lost, and how early they lost it. Once your child’s space maintainer is in place, Dr. Kasey can provide more information about what to expect, and when it may be possible to have it removed.

Understanding The Space Maintainer Removal Process

Removing a space maintainer only takes a few minutes. The removal may be done as part of your child’s regular checkup at Kids Tooth Team, or you may need to schedule a separate appointment.

To remove a space maintainer, Dr. Kasey will use a special type of pliers to grab the band that holds the space maintainer onto your child’s tooth. She’ll wiggle the band to break the cement that holds it in place. Then, she’ll remove the space maintainer, and clean away any dental cement that’s still on your child’s tooth.

That’s it! It takes only a minute or two to remove your child’s space maintainer. Once it’s out, your child’s adult tooth can erupt properly, helping to maintain the correct spacing in your little one’s smile.

Need More Information? Ready To Schedule An Appointment? Contact Us Today!

At Kids Tooth Team, Dr. Kasey is always happy to meet new patients. Whether you think your child may need a space maintainer, we’re here for you. Book an appointment online, or give us a call to schedule a consultation today, and get the care your child needs right away. We are conveniently located in Lake Orion, MI.

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