Space maintainers are orthodontic appliances used to hold teeth in place during childhood tooth and jaw development. These custom-made devices may be used in children who have mixed dentition (baby teeth and adult teeth) to preserve the space necessary for a permanent tooth to properly erupt. Space maintainers are made of metal or plastic and can be fixed (bonded in place) or removable. As an experienced orthodontic specialist, Dr. Nguyenhas advanced expertise in preserving oral health with space maintainers. She may recommend this orthodontic appliance if your child has lost a baby tooth before the adult tooth is ready to erupt. To learn more about space maintainers from Dr. Shak, schedule a consultation at Atlas Walk Dental & Orthodontics in Gainesville, VA today.
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Teeth rely on each other to stay in place and maintain their positions. When teeth are lost and create a space in the arch, the surrounding teeth have a tendency to shift into this open area. If this occurs, adult teeth lack the space to erupt properly and may cause malocclusion or misalignment in the jaw, among other oral problems. Space maintainers are used to hold this space open until the underlying adult tooth is ready to erupt. Children may need a space maintainer if they lose a baby tooth before the adult tooth is due to grow in or have a decayed or damaged baby tooth that requires extraction. Dr. Shak may recommend a space maintainer for your child to help preserve tooth position and guide permanent teeth into their correct location within the jaw.
What to Expect
To determine the type of space maintainer ideal for your child’s needs, our team will take x-rays and impressions of your child’s upper and lower teeth. We use these impressions to create your child's retainer on-site with our Drufomat Scan Pressure Machine. When the space maintainer is ready, we will have your child return to our office so that Dr. Shak can position it within the mouth and make any necessary adjustments. Space maintainers can be both fixed and removable. However, to improve compliance among children, we often cement these appliances in place using neighboring teeth for support.
Dr. Shak works with several types of space maintainers and will determine the best option for your child based on where in the mouth this treatment is needed. A lingual or palatal space maintainer may be used if your child has lost teeth on both sides of the mouth and within the same arch. Unilateral options also exist to preserve a single space within the upper or lower arch.
Once your child’s space maintainer is placed, Dr. Shak will give you an idea of how long it should be worn. Space maintainers can make normal daily home care challenging as children try to clean around the wires. We recommend that you assist your child each day with brushing and flossing to ensure their teeth, gums, and space maintainer are kept clean. Additional products to help aid in home care efforts may also be suggested by our team as needed. We will schedule follow-up visits for your child to check their development as their treatment progresses. It is also important to maintain regular dental cleanings and exams at Atlas Walk Dental & Orthodontics on a bi-annual basis.
Depending on your child’s insurance coverage, space maintainers may or may not be a covered benefit. We will review your child’s specific plan and let you know of any out-of-pocket costs before we begin the space maintainer process. Our team wants your family to have access to high-quality care for your smiles and offers several convenient payment options to make receiving orthodontic care affordable. If you are not using insurance to cover the cost of your child’s care, ask our team about low-interest patient financing with CareCredit®.
Space maintainers are advanced orthodontic solutions our team at Atlas Walk Dental & Orthodontics uses to create healthy, happy smiles for children as their teeth and jaws develop. Your child may benefit from a space maintainer if they have lost a baby tooth and the adult tooth is not quite ready to erupt. Dr. Shak may recommend a space maintainer to hold this area open and guide the adult tooth into its proper place. To schedule a consultation with our orthodontic specialist, contact our Gainesville, VA practice today.