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Space Maintainers


Smiling teenager sitting in dental chairAt Senestraro Family Orthodontics, we specialize in a wide variety of orthodontic appliances. Many of these appliances are designed to prevent potential problems and improve your long-term oral health. For this reason, children and adolescents have the most to gain from orthodontic treatment.

If your child has recently lost a baby (primary) tooth due to trauma, injury, or any other unexpected reason, they may need an orthodontic appliance known as a space maintainer. A space maintainer can help establish a strong foundation for your child’s oral health that follows them into adulthood.

The Problem With Premature Tooth Loss


Unexpected tooth loss is an unfortunate part of life for many children. Some children experience trauma or injury due to an accident, while others develop early childhood cavities that require a tooth extraction. Regardless of why, it is important to take action immediately following premature tooth loss.

When a primary tooth is lost prematurely, it can create some secondary complications later down the line. In many cases, the remaining baby teeth will shift out of the proper alignment to accommodate the open space. This can lead to eruption issues with their permanent teeth, resulting in impacted teeth or painful abscesses.

When to Consider a Space Maintainer


We typically recommend a space maintainer when a primary tooth has been lost early or extracted due to tooth decay. If the tooth is lost close to the eruption of their permanent teeth, a space maintainer may not be necessary. If the tooth is lost way before their permanent teeth are set to come in, then a space maintainer may be the ideal solution.

Space maintainers can also be useful if one or more permanent teeth are missing due to congenital issues. This means your child was born without these permanent teeth. This situation is more common than you may think. The ideal solution is a dental implant, but these cannot be placed until the jaw growth is complete. In the meantime, a space maintainer can prevent their permanent teeth from shifting out of their proper position.

Types of Space Maintainers


There are two major types of space maintainers: removable and fixed. During your child’s consultation appointment, Dr. Seth Senestraro will be able to determine which one is appropriate given the situation. The type of maintainer we recommend will depend on the location of the missing tooth and how long your child will need it.

A removable space maintainer is similar to a conventional retainer, with one exception: the acrylic base is attached to one or more artificial teeth. This type of space maintainer is often used for missing anterior (front) teeth when aesthetics is a concern. This may be the ideal solution until dental implant treatment is a viable option.

A fixed space maintainer is attached to the teeth surrounding the open space. This type of maintainer is typically most suitable for younger children missing posterior (back) primary teeth. In most cases, a fixed maintainer is a metal appliance bonded to the enamel with dental cement.

The types of fixed maintainers include:
•  Band-and-loop device
•  Lingual holding arch
•  Transpalatal arch
•  Distal shoe appliance

Talk with Dr. Seth Senestraro to learn more about your child’s options.

Schedule Your Child’s Consultation


If your child has lost a primary tooth prematurely, we can help. Call Dr. Seth Senestraro to schedule their consultation appointment now!
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