Space Maintainers 101

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If your child lost a tooth too soon, Dr. Constance Brown might suggest a space maintainer. This is an orthodontic apparatus that is installed in children’s mouths of children when they lose primary teeth in an accident or due to extensive tooth decay or infection. When a tooth is lost in this way, the alignment of your child’s bite can gradually go out of whack so that when the adult tooth wants to come in, there is no longer room. A space maintainer can help maintain the gap so the adult tooth can erupt from the gums properly. This will avoid the need for later extensive orthodontic treatment or unwanted extractions.

Depending on your child’s circumstances, Dr. Constance Brown may choose one of many types of space maintainers. These generally are either removable or fixed. Removable space maintainers are acrylic pieces that look kind of like retainers. Fixed space maintainers attach permanently to the teeth or gums around the empty space. This second option is typically suggested for children who can’t care for a removable device or for those missing a back tooth.

Cleaning and caring for space maintainers regularly is essential as this extends the device’s lifespan and ensures that it does its job. Removable maintainers should be taken out and cleaned twice daily during one’s oral hygiene routine, while fixed space maintainers can be brushed with other teeth in the mouth. Your child should also take good care of the gums where the space maintainer is placed, as that is where the adult tooth will come in.

If you think your child might need a space maintainer, please call Brown Orthodontics here at one of our locations in Vancouver or Camas, Washington at 360-256-7220 for an appointment as soon as possible.