Space Maintainers in Irvine

What Are Space Maintainers?

If your child loses a tooth prematurely, the baby tooth can no longer maintain space in the mouth for the permanent tooth to erupt through. This can result in many problems, including shifting teeth, orthodontic problems, and blockage of the eruption of the permanent tooth. It’s an early interceptive orthodontic treatment that prevents long-term orthodontic issues. 

Space maintainers are oral appliances made of stainless steel. They come in different forms but typically consist of a steel band placed around a tooth adjacent to the gap where there is a missing tooth.

 A metal wire that is attached to the band holds the space open to stop the surrounding teeth from moving and to hold the space open until the permanent tooth is due to erupt. Contact us at Salt & Light Orthodontics to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephan Purnomo.

Ortho retainer

Did you know…

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Your child should avoid eating hard, sticky, and chewy foods that can damage or dislodge their space maintainer.

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The Space Maintenance Process: What To Expect

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Dr. Purnomo will examine your child’s teeth and determine if the gap will require a space maintainer to be held open. 

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After taking digital scans or physical impressions of your child’s teeth, these are sent to a dental lab that fabricates a custom space maintainer that will fit perfectly over your child’s tooth.

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A few weeks later, we’ll call you back to place the space maintainer over the tooth and check how the fit. If no adjustments need to be made, it can be cemented to the teeth so it can’t be taken out.

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Periodic check-ups will enable us to keep an eye on your child’s tooth development.

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When the permanent tooth shows signs of eruption, it’s time to remove the space maintainer and any excess dental cement.

Have questions about Space Maintainers? Find answers here.

Is My Child A Good Candidate For A Space Maintainer? 

Space maintainers are needed when a primary tooth is lost too soon, whether that’s a result of tooth decay, dental trauma, or an extraction. However, there are some important factors to take into consideration. Some teeth, believe it or not, do not require space maintainers. The space will remain open in the front four teeth if they are lost prematurely so a space maintainer is usually not needed. It also may not be necessary if your child’s permanent tooth is due to erupt soon anyway.

A good candidate is someone who has lost a tooth too soon and when the space is at risk of being intruded upon by the surrounding teeth because the permanent tooth will not erupt for a while. However, it’s important that your child is cooperative enough for us to place a space maintainer over their tooth and that they will maintain good oral hygiene.

How Long Do Space Maintainers Last?

Space maintainers are made of highly durable stainless steel, so they can last for a very long time and will not become easily damaged. However, a space maintainer is only a temporary treatment that is supposed to be removed when the permanent tooth comes in. 

Space maintainers are built to last long enough until the natural eruption of the permanent tooth. This may be within a few months or a few years, depending on your child’s age, the tooth that was lost, and their tooth development.