What is a Space Maintainer?

When a child loses a tooth early in childhood, it can make it crowded for permanent teeth to erupt in the future. With a space maintainer, it’s easy to avoid future orthodontic work by keeping the space open for adult teeth. Today, we’re here to answer all your questions about pediatric dental space maintainers!

What is a dental space maintainer?

Similar to an adult bridge, space maintainers are made of stainless steel or plastic, and they can be removable or fixed with dental cement. They’re used in pediatric dentistry to maintain open space between teeth and leave room for adult teeth to grow in. Whether or not a child needs a space maintainer is dependent upon the child’s age, the location of the tooth, the nature of the injury, plus other factors. After a comprehensive pediatric dental exam, the dentist will make recommendations and create a custom care plan for your child. Space maintainers shouldn’t hurt, and with a compassionate, experienced children’s dentist like Dr. John Haffner at All Stars Pediatric Dentistry, the experience should be comfortably easy and enjoyable. 

Why does a child need a dental space maintainer? 

Whether from injury, illness, or excessive tooth decay, sometimes kids lose primary teeth ahead of schedule. Early tooth loss can leave space between teeth for several years before permanent teeth are ready to take their place. Over time, as your child’s jaw grows, surrounding teeth can shift and close up space, making it difficult for adult teeth to erupt. Dental space maintainers are a painless way to prevent the need for future orthodontic work by leaving plenty of room for secondary teeth to come in where they normally would. 

How to care for space maintainers

Depending on the type of space maintainer your local pediatric dentist recommends, your child may need to remove the appliance for cleaning or brush carefully. As your child grows and his or her mouth shape changes, it may be necessary to make adjustments or create a new space maintainer to keep the dental device functional and comfortable. Schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist for a fit adjustment or maintenance if your child complains of discomfort like tightness or poking. Your dentist will thoroughly explain how to clean and care for the device, but if you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to call a highly rated pediatric dentist you can trust. 

Have additional questions? Contact us to learn more, we’re always happy to help! Our outstanding reviews on Google and Facebook speak for themselves! If your child needs a pediatric dental exam, call All Stars Pediatric Dentistry at 770-292-9441 to schedule an appointment today. 

Frequently Asked Questions about All Stars Pediatric Dentistry

Will my child need a space maintainer after losing a tooth in an accident?

Space maintainers are used after losing a primary tooth early in childhood, whether from injury, accident, illness, or decay. Your dentist will determine if a space maintainer is necessary based on a comprehensive pediatric dental exam. 

Do space maintainers hurt?

Space maintainers shouldn’t hurt as they do not adjust teeth, they gently keep the teeth separated the same distance they were before. If your child complains of discomfort, contact All Stars Pediatric Dentistry.

Do space maintainers need to be adjusted? 

As your child grows, adjustments may be needed to keep the space maintainer comfortable and functional. It’s important to schedule a pediatric dental exam every six months for the life of the space maintainer.