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Space Maintainers

If your child is missing one or more of their baby teeth following accidental tooth loss or dental extraction, space maintainers prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting into the empty spaces before their permanent teeth come through.

At Tindall Orthodontics, we offer fixed and removable space maintainers as a preventative orthodontic treatment to help ensure that your child’s mouth develops correctly.

What are space maintainers?

Space maintainers can be fixed or removable appliances and are made of metal or acrylic. We provide custom-made space maintainers to maintain gaps in your child’s mouth where their permanent teeth will eventually erupt.

Your child will need to wear their space maintainer until the adult tooth has come through sufficiently to support the neighbouring teeth and prevent them from shifting. This treatment may take a few months or even several years, depending on your child’s age.

Who is suitable for space maintainers?

We only offer this early orthodontic treatment to pre-adolescent children who do not yet have all their adult teeth. Space maintainers are a temporary solution and are not intended to replace missing permanent teeth, which require a denture or dental bridge.

We recommend space maintainers for teeth that are missing due to:

  • dental extraction
  • accidental tooth loss
  • congenital diseases

Your child may not need space maintainers if they lost their tooth naturally or if their adult teeth are due to erupt shortly. We will inform you whether or not treatment is required during your child’s orthodontic consultation.

What are the benefits of space maintainers?

If your child loses one or more of their deciduous (baby) teeth early, and their adult teeth will not emerge for some time, it’s important to maintain the gap. Space maintainers prevent their other teeth from moving, support healthy development of their teeth, jaws and muscles, and help to maintain the shape of their mouth for as long as required.

Space maintainers are an important preventative treatment that will reduce the chance of your child needing more intensive orthodontic care when they are older. These appliances are custom-made for your child to ensure a comfortable fit and they have a minimal impact on their appearance, diet and daily activities.

Because space maintainers are passive orthodontic appliances that do not involve moving your teeth or jaws, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during your treatment.

What are the different types of space maintainers?

Depending on your child’s situation and the type of tooth that is missing, we may recommend removable or fixed space maintainers.

  • Removable – These acrylic space maintainers are preferable for short-term treatments or older children. They require more compliance on the part of the patient, who must only remove the appliance at the instructed times.
  • Fixed – These metal space maintainers are anchored to the surrounding teeth to hold the space open for as long as required.

Your Orthodontist will explain what each type of appliance involves during your consultation, to help you choose the most suitable maintainers for your child.

How to look after your space maintainers

We will instruct you and your child on the correct way to care for the appliance, to make sure you receive the full benefit of your orthodontic treatment and to prevent oral health problems resulting from dental plaque.

If you have a fixed maintainer, you should avoid foods that are hard, sticky or chewy, as these can cause the appliance to loosen or become damaged. You should also resist poking your space maintainer with your fingers or tongue.

If you have a removable space maintainer, this should only be removed once every evening and cleaned using a toothbrush.

Following good oral hygiene is essential for the success of your orthodontic treatment and for avoiding problems. You should brush at least twice a day and floss daily, being sure to floss around the edge of your fixed space maintainer to remove trapped food.

We will arrange follow-up appointments at regular intervals to monitor your progress and make any adjustments needed to the space maintainers. You should also keep up with your regular dental appointments during the course of your orthodontic treatment.

Book an appointment for space maintainers

Call us for more information about how space maintainers could help your child and to arrange a consultation. No referral is required for your initial consultation.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.