Why Children Sometimes Need Space Maintainers

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In dentistry, there are a lot of different products used to fix problems that can occur in a person's mouth, and you might not know about all the different products available. One such product is called a space maintainer, and this is generally something dentists use with children; however, there are rare situations where adults may also need them.

What a space maintainer is

A space maintainer is a dental product used to hold a space between two teeth. It is often made of metal, and it generally attaches to at least one tooth. It may also attach to two teeth, depending on the situation. The purpose of this device is to stop surrounding teeth from shifting into a gap in a person's mouth. In other words, it is there to hold a space in a person's mouth.

The reasons a child may need one

Adults generally do not need space maintainers, as they generally do not deal with losing teeth prematurely. If an adult does lose a tooth, he or she will often get a bridge or implant placed in the gap to fill this spot. Kids, on the other hand, often lose baby teeth before they should. If this occurs and if the permanent tooth will not come through for a while, the dentist will want to use a space maintainer to hold the space. This is often needed if a child has a tooth that is full of decay and cannot be saved or fixed. Instead, the dentist would remove the tooth and place the space maintainer in. Another reason for the use of a space maintainer would be if a child's tooth was knocked out long before the permanent tooth will come in.  

The procedure to get a space maintainer

To get a space maintainer, a dentist would need to create a mold for it and would need to decide which type to use. There are several different types, but the most common type is one made of metal that attaches to one tooth with a metal clasp-like device. Once the dentist makes the device, he or she will test it to ensure that it fits right. If so, the dentist can cement it in place. When the child's permanent tooth grows in this gap, it will often push the space maintainer out. If it does not, the dentist will simply remove the device from the child's tooth.

If your child's dentist recommends placing a space maintainer in your child's mouth, you should allow him or her to do this, as a space maintainer is important when needed. To learn more, contact a kid's dentist today.