Girl with Missing Teeth

Space Maintainers in Hurst,TX

Space Maintainers in Hurst, TX

Typically, children lose their primary teeth (or “baby teeth”) when the replacement permanent teeth are ready to erupt. However, for a variety of reasons, some children lose a baby tooth too soon – i.e., before the replacement permanent tooth is ready to come in. If your child loses a primary tooth prematurely, his or her pediatric dentist may recommend using a pediatric dental spacer to prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting into the open space.

What Is A Pediatric Space Maintainer?

When a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the adjacent teeth can start shifting into the open space. This shifting can cause the permanent replacement tooth to grow in crooked or not grow in at all. A pediatric space maintainer – also called a pediatric dental spacer – is a custom-made dental appliance that helps hold the adjacent teeth in a stable position so that the permanent replacement tooth has a better chance of growing in properly. 

Types of Space Maintainers in Pediatric Dentistry

Space maintainers generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. Fixed unilateral space maintainers (which are cemented into one side of the mouth),
  2. Fixed bilateral space maintainers (which are cemented into both sides of the mouth), and
  3. Removable space maintainers (which the patient can easily take out and put back in). 

Within each of these categories, there are a variety of specific space maintainer designs. Your child’s pediatric dentist will determine the optimal design for your child based on numerous factors, including the location of the missing baby tooth and your child’s oral hygiene habits. 

In most cases, fixed pediatric space maintainers will be preferable over removable ones due to the higher risk of loss or breakage posed by removable space maintainers.

Are Space Maintainers Always Necessary?

Not every child who loses a baby tooth prematurely needs a space maintainer. 

In determining whether a space maintainer is advisable, your child’s pediatric dentist will consider a variety of factors. These factors include (among others) the location of the lost baby tooth, the amount of time that has passed since the tooth came out, the developmental status of the replacement permanent tooth, your child’s health history, and your child’s oral hygiene habits.

If your child loses a baby tooth too soon, it is a good idea to consult a pediatric dentist right away to determine whether a dental spacer will benefit your child. The adjacent teeth typically move the most during the first six months following the premature tooth loss, so making an appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist promptly is important. Doing so could avoid the need for extensive orthodontic work in the future. 

Follow-Up Care for Space Maintainers

It is essential that children with space maintainers visit their pediatric dentists for regular check-ups and cleanings. At each check-up, your child’s pediatric dentist will need to examine the space maintainer to ensure that it is still properly attached and to determine whether any adjustments are needed as a result of the continued growth and development of your child’s teeth and jaw. 

Additionally, pediatric space maintainers can make brushing and flossing the adjacent teeth more difficult, making regular professional dental exams and cleanings more important than ever.

Does Your Child Need a Space Maintainer?

If you are concerned that your child has lost a baby tooth too soon, contact our pediatric dental office today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Lin has extensive experience placing pediatric dental space maintainers and can work with you to determine whether a space maintainer is the right option for your child. 

Hurst Pediatric Dentistry is located in Hurst, Texas, and provides dental care for children in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. 

Schedule Your Appointment Today!