Space maintainers may be used: • If a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth is ready to come in • If a permanent tooth is missing
Types of Space Maintainers:
Fixed Space Maintainer: The space maintainer keeps the space open until the permanent tooth comes in. A space maintainer is made of stainless steel and/or plastic. It can be removable. Some space maintainers are cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space in the child’s mouth.
Removable space maintainer: looks like a retainer. It uses artificial teeth or plastic blocks to fill in the space or spaces that need to stay open. This type of space maintainer often is used when the space is obvious to other people. Removable space maintainers work well in older children who can reliably follow directions about caring for this appliance.
The space maintainer may feel unusual at first. But after a few days, your child probably will forget about it. A removable space maintainer with replacement teeth can affect speech until your child gets used to it. It’s important for your child to brush regularly to keep the gum tissue healthy. A child with a fixed space maintainer needs to avoid hard or sticky foods and chewy candy and gum. They can loosen the band or get caught in the wire arm. Finally, your child shouldn’t push on the space maintainer with his or her tongue or fingers. That could bend or loosen it.
Follow-Up: Dr. Pulitzer will take X-rays regularly to follow the progress of the incoming permanent teeth. When the tooth is ready to erupt, the space maintainer is removed. If a permanent tooth is missing, the space maintainer may be used until your child’s growth is completed (age 16 to 18).