Sometimes when a baby tooth is lost or taken out early your dentist may talk to you about a space maintainer. So that begs the questions – What is a space maintainer and why are they used?
Space maintainer’s are like people – they come in all shapes and sizes. They come in small single tooth attachments, larger multiple tooth attachments or combination of the two depending on what it’s being used for. They are used for exactly what they say – maintain space! A child’s mouth is a quickly changing terrain with new teeth coming in all the time. If a tooth is lost early it can cause some of the teeth around the new space to shift. Ideally we would like to prevent these shifts from happening, allowing for the correct amount of space to allow natural eruption of adult teeth.
What can be a little confusing is that not every tooth that comes out early needs a space maintainer. It depends on a lot of factors including what tooth is lost, age of when its lost, what teeth are already in the mouth and so much more. This is a great discussion your dentist will have with you if and when it’s needed!
Taking care if yours space maintainer is just as important has getting it in the first place! Any appliance, whether it’s traditional braces or a space maintainer, can very easily become a place where plaque likes to hang out which can lead to a lot of cavities and gum inflammation. Make sure to take extra time to brush around the tooth and the spacer and using mouth wash to keep it clean.