If your kid’s pediatric dentist Jersey City, NJ has told you they will need a tooth space maintainer (see also: lingual arche), you may have wondered exactly why this is necessary and even what it is. Kids can be fitted with a space maintainer if they lose baby teeth too early, for example needing to have a tooth extracted due to advanced dental decay. In fact a dental space maintainer is a very useful appliance for your kid’s dental health.
Indications for Space Maintainer Therapy
When a child’s tooth is lost too soon it can create all sorts of problems for their dental health. The remaining baby teeth are more likely to drift into the gap, creating issues with the way your kid’s teeth bite together as well as problems with overcrowding. When the adult teeth try to come through, there may be insufficient space for them to erupt normally and this increases the possibility of your kid requiring orthodontics therapy to correct this issue. A space maintainer can solve these problems by making sure the correct amount of space is held open until the adult tooth is ready to push through the gums. It needs to be worn until the adult teeth arrive.
Lingual and Removable Space Maintainers
A space maintainer is a custom-made appliance that can be constructed from acrylic or metal. Some are fixed onto your child’s teeth while others are removable. The choice may depend on your kid’s age and whether or not their pediatric dentist Cliffside Park, NJ thinks they can cope with a removable appliance and will be able to look after it properly.
There are several different types of space maintainers. One type is a very simple device where the space maintainer will wrap around the outside of the tooth adjacent to the gap. It is connected to a wire loop that will touch the tooth on the other side of the gap, keeping open the space for the adult tooth to erupt normally.
Removable space maintainers look a little like an dental braces and are made from acrylic. Sometimes if the missing tooth is highly visible, it’s possible for an artificial tooth to be attached to this appliance to make the loss of the baby tooth less obvious.
If your child is missing more than one baby tooth in their lower jaw, they may be prescribed what’s called a lingual space maintainer which is cemented onto their molar teeth and which consists of a wire that runs around the inside of the lower front teeth.
Getting Used to Wearing a Space Maintainer
It might take your child a few days to get used to wearing this appliance, regardless of whether it is fixed or removable. Their pediatric dentist will show you exactly how to look after the appliance and how to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned. This is essential to make sure the gums and teeth remain free from disease. If the space maintainer is fixed, your kid may need to avoid eating certain very chewy or sticky foods which could get caught in the appliance. Their pediatric dentist will need to see them regularly to make sure the space maintainer is doing its job.