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What is a Space Maintainer?

Losing a primary tooth can be a big milestone for your child, but sometimes it can create a gap that shouldn't be there. That's where space maintainers come in!


What is a Space Maintainer?

Space maintainers are like tiny retainers for kids. These custom-made devices, typically made from metal or acrylic, are placed in your child's mouth to hold the space left by a missing primary tooth. This ensures that there is enough room for the permanent tooth to erupt properly later on.

Their design can be either fixed or removable, providing flexibility and adaptability to suit individual needs. Crafted to fit your child's unique dental structure, space maintainers require no invasive procedures for placement, ensuring a comfortable experience.

By maintaining proper spacing and alignment, these devices contribute to the healthy development of your child's dental architecture, facilitating the correct positioning of permanent teeth for a confident smile and optimal oral health.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Space Maintainers

Are Space Maintainers Painful for Kids? Will Space Maintainers Cause My Child Pain?

No anesthesia is typically needed for placing a space maintainer. The dentist will gently place the device, and your child may experience some slight pressure, but not pain. In the initial days of wearing a space maintainer, there might be some minor mouth irritation, similar to when getting used to a new retainer.

Can My Child Eat with a Space Maintainer?

  • Removable Space Maintainers: These can be taken out for meals, allowing your child to eat comfortably. Remember to brush their teeth and clean the space maintainer before putting it back in.

  • Fixed Space Maintainers: These stay in place and cannot be removed for eating. However, they shouldn't interfere with your child's ability to chew normally.

Brushing and flossing properly are crucial to prevent food buildup and cavities around the space maintainer and teeth.

What Happens If a Space Maintainer is Not Used?

Space maintainers play a vital role in your child's oral development:

  • Preserves Space for Permanent Teeth: If a primary tooth is lost too early, nearby teeth may shift and crowd the permanent tooth as it tries to erupt. Space maintainers prevent this by keeping the gap open.

  • Promotes Proper Jaw Development: Proper spacing allows for normal jaw growth.

  • Reduces Need for Future Orthodontics: By ensuring permanent teeth erupt in the correct position, space maintainers can help prevent the need for braces or other orthodontic treatment later in life.

Removable vs Fixed Space Maintainers

Space maintainers play a crucial role in ensuring your child's smile develops properly. But with two main types – removable and fixed – you might wonder which one is right for your child. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Removable Space Maintainers:

  • Designed for children with missing multiple teeth, especially on the lower jaw.

  • Appearance: Typically consists of metal clasps that grip onto surrounding teeth and an acrylic base that fills the gap.

  • Benefits:

    • Easy to clean: Can be removed for brushing and flossing, promoting good oral hygiene.

    • Comfortable to wear: Removable when eating or playing certain sports.

    • Improves aesthetics: Fills the gap and enhances the appearance of the smile.


Fixed Space Maintainers:

  • Designed for children with missing a single tooth, most commonly in the upper jaw.

  • Appearance: Cemented to the surrounding teeth with a band and loop or crown and loop design.

  • Benefits:

    • Always in place: No need to worry about losing or forgetting to wear the appliance.

    • Requires less maintenance: Easier for younger children who might struggle with removable devices.

    • Effective at holding space: Provides a more secure hold for proper tooth eruption.

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