Space Maintainer: Know Its Different Types

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Most children at around the age of three develop their full set of baby teeth. Their primary set of teeth enables them to eat their first solid food. These teeth also serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. But when a child starts losing their primary teeth early, or when their permanent teeth erupt late, dentists may recommend placing space maintainers.

A space maintainer is a dental device that is custom-made by a dental professional using acrylic or metal material. The appliance can either be removable or cemented in a child’s mouth with the primary purpose of keeping the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt and come in place. If the gap is not maintained, there is a possibility that the teeth may shift into the open space and orthodontic procedures will be required.

dental checkup of a young boy

Types of space maintainers

Removable space maintainer

Removable space maintainers are similar to orthodontic appliances and are usually made of acrylic. There are cases when an artificial tooth is used to fill a gap that must remain open for the unerupted tooth. As its name implies, this type of space maintainer can be removed.

Fixed space maintainer

Unlike removable space maintainers, fixed space maintainers are attached to the teeth by cementing the space maintainer in place. Fixed space maintainer has four different kinds, namely:

  • Unilateral space maintainer. It is wrapped around the tooth and is connected to a metal loop used to hold the space intact.
  • Crown and loop space maintainer. This type of space maintainer uses an actual dental crown to cover the tooth and is attached to the loop to ensure that there is a space for the erupting tooth.
  • Distal shoe space maintainer. Mostly used for the unerupted first permanent molar teeth, the end of its metal is inserted into the gum line to keep the space from closing.
  • Lingual space maintainer. Generally, it is used for more than one missing teeth. It is usually bilateral and can be cemented to molar teeth. A wire connects it on the inside of the lower front teeth.

Carmona Smiles is always ready to take action involving you and your child’s oral health. If you want to experience secure and more child-friendly Pediatric Dentistry in Coral Springs, FL, contact us and book your appointment.