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children's teeth spacers

Dental Spacers Support Your Child’s Mouth for Proper Placement of Their Permanent Teeth

If your child has lost a baby tooth prematurely, you may be worried about how this will affect their permanent teeth. Without the proper support of baby teeth, other teeth can shift and move into the wrong spaces in your child’s mouth. This will cause their permanent teeth to be guided into incorrect positions. Dental spacers can help your child avoid crooked teeth and other dental problems.

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Dental Spacers for Teeth

Also called space maintainers, dental spacers are used to support a child’s mouth until their permanent teeth come in. They keep other teeth from filling in the gaps where a child has lost a tooth so that their permanent teeth can grow in the correct location.

Fostering good oral health early on helps corrective dental work in the future.

Are Space Maintainers Really Necessary for Baby Teeth?

Many parents wonder if teeth spacers are really necessary since adult teeth will eventually grow in. The answer is yes. Without space maintainers, permanent teeth can erupt in the wrong location, which may require more extensive orthodontic treatment to fix. Getting space maintainers early can help you prevent this from happening.

Types of Space Maintainers

Your child’s dentist may recommend either removable or fixed space maintainers. Removable maintainers are best used for an older child who can keep up with its care. These are made of acrylic and use artificial teeth or blocks of dental material to ensure gaps are left open for permanent teeth to grow in.  

Suitable for younger children, fixed maintainers are attached to the teeth beside the gap using dental cement. There are several types of fixed appliances, including:

  • Band-and-loop device: This is used when baby molars are missing in one dental arch. The device is constructed of stainless steel wire that’s secured by orthodontic bands so that the permanent tooth can grow in properly.
  • Lingual holding arch: This device maintains the space needed for the lower back teeth on both sides of the mouth.
  • Transpalatal arch, or nance appliance: Fitted on the upper jaw, this device leaves space on both sides of the dental arch. It’s held in place by wire that’s affixed to the teeth surrounding the gap.
  • Distal shoe appliance: This is used to maintain the space where the baby first molar is lost until the permanent molar comes in.  

What to Expect With Children’s Dental Spacers

Once spacers are implemented, it’s essential to care for them properly. Your dentist will track the growth of permanent teeth to ensure proper placement. The maintainer will need to be adjusted periodically, so it’s important to visit the dentist regularly and get immediate assistance if your child’s device is damaged in some way.

For optimal results, your child should brush daily with a gentle fluoride toothpaste and avoid gum and hard candy.

Your child also shouldn’t push or pull the device as this can affect its performance. At Arctic Dental, we can provide your child with the dental care they need in a fun, welcoming environment. We are committed to offering a positive dental experience for each child so that they can look forward to visiting the dentist.  

*Accepting new patients from Muscatine and areas near West Liberty, Columbus Junction, Wapello, Tipton, Wilton, Durant, Stockton, Walcott, Blue Grass.