A space maintainer is a dental appliance used in children whom have lost a milk tooth prematurely. The appliance is used to maintain the space for the adult tooth to come through and preserve healthy growth of the jaws.
If a space maintainer is not placed, the permanent teeth and jaws would not grow or be aligned properly.
Space maintainers also aid chewing and speaking after the premature loss of a milk tooth.
The milk tooth may have been lost due to extensive tooth decay, failed pulp treatment, dental injuries, or some systemic diseases.
Premature loss of primary teeth (milk teeth) is quite common, especially as a result of extensive tooth decay and dental injuries.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Space maintainers can be fixed or removable and will require multiple visits.
The dentist will introduce himself to both you and your child. He will discuss your concerns with you.
He will take a history from you on the events surrounding the tooth loss. He will examine your child and take essential radiographs.
He will carry you along from start to finish.
He may also take photographs of your teeth for treatment records. For this purpose, he will take an impression of your child’s mouth usually with alginate material. The impression will be used to make models of your mouth; the models will include a study model which will be used for treatment records and another model on which the appliance will be fabricated.
With the dentist’s instructions, the appliance will be fabricated in the dental laboratory.
On a second visit, the appliance will be tried-in. If it fits well and is satisfactory, he will give you the appliance with post-procedure instructions.
- Inform the dentist of any concerns you may have
- Book your next appointment before you leave the clinic.
- Keep to the post – procedure instructions given to you
- Maintain good oral hygiene, brush your teeth and gums at least twice daily.
- If the appliance is removable, clean the appliance after meals by brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush and rinsing in cold water. Wash the appliance over a bowl of water to prevent damage in case it drops.
- Avoid hard and sticky foods, in order to prevent damage to the appliance.
- If the appliance gets damaged, return to the clinic immediately.
No, space maintainers are not necessary and are not used in such cases.