Deciduous teeth, more commonly known as primary or baby teeth, are not just for chewing. Each one is responsible for guiding the permanent teeth when they erupt. If your child loses a primary tooth too early, the permanent tooth also loses its guide, drifting and erupting into wrong positions in the mouth. The neighboring teeth can move into the space, leaving insufficient room for the permanent tooth to come in.
When this happens, space maintainers can be used to be keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts.
Two Types of Space Maintainers
Space maintainers are made of plastic and/or stainless steel. Some can be removable, while others can be cemented and fixed onto the teeth on either side of the space in your child’s mouth.
Similar to a retainer, a removable space maintainer uses artificial teeth or plastic blocks to fill in the space/s that should stay open. Often, it is used when the space is easily visible, and is ideal for older children who can follow instructions in caring for this appliance.
Fixed space maintainers have several types, such as band-and-loop maintainers and a distal shoe appliance.
A band-and-loop space maintainer is made of stainless steel wire, retained by a crown on the tooth next to the open space. A wire loop is attached to the crown, sticking out across the space where the tooth is missing and extends to the tooth opposite the space. This wire keeps the space open and allows enough room for the permanent teeth to come in.
The distal show appliance is used when the baby tooth in front of the first permanent molar is lost, and the molar has not yet erupted. Without the tooth, there is nothing to hold a band-and-loop maintainer in place. Instead, the metal wire is inserted slightly under the gum, holding the space open until permanent teeth come in.
At General Dentistry Limited, we offer space maintainer placement service. Our professional service will ensure that the space maintainer is placed properly. We can also provide further clarification if you do not fully understand the purpose and benefits of space maintenance. For any concern regarding space maintainer appliances, feel free to contact us today.