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Saving Space


A smiling boy with a gray backgroundDespite being temporary, the baby teeth of your child are very important. These teeth not only allow your child to enjoy a wide array of different foods, but they also help your child to develop proper speech. The baby teeth also play a critical role in the development of the adult teeth, acting as space holders for the permanent teeth developing below the gum line until they are ready to erupt. If your child loses a baby tooth before the adult tooth is ready to erupt, it can cause significant issues. At Great Grins for KIDS - Oregon City, we can help to save the space of prematurely lost baby teeth with a space maintainer.

The Importance of a Space Maintainer


The baby teeth are often thought to be unimportant. After all, they are only temporary. However, they are quite important. In addition to biting and chewing, the baby teeth help your child to develop proper speech. In addition to all of these functions, the baby teeth serve as space holders for the adult teeth. Losing baby teeth too early can have detrimental effects. The adult teeth that erupt on either side of the empty space may come in crooked, blocking the space meant for another tooth. As a result, your child may develop a crooked or overcrowded smile.

What is a Space Maintainer?


A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that is designed to save the space left behind by a baby tooth that was lost prematurely. These devices are typically made from either plastic or stainless steel. They are a temporary appliance, only meant to stay in place until the adult tooth begins to erupt. By holding the empty space open, the adult tooth can develop properly. This can help to prevent alignment issues and the need for orthodontic treatment later in life.

Different Types of Space Maintainers


There are a few different types of space maintainers that we may use. These include
•  Fixed space maintainers. A fixed space maintainer is the most common type used. There are a few different types of fixed maintainers. A band and loop maintainer uses a wire to hold the device into place on an adjacent tooth. A distal shoe appliance is a type of fixed maintainer that is inserted under the gums. This type of space maintainer is used when there is no adjacent tooth to anchor the device.
•  Removable space maintainers. A removable space maintainer resembles a retainer. This type of space maintainer is often used to save the space of a visible tooth. The space maintainer has a fake tooth and is generally recommended for older children.
•  Lingual arch space maintainers. A lingual arch space maintainer is used when the back teeth are missing from both sides of the mouth. A wire is attached to bands that anchor the device in place. The wire runs behind the bottom teeth so that they are not visible when your child smiles.

If your child loses a baby tooth before the adult tooth underneath is ready to erupt, a space maintainer can help to hold that space, preventing serious developmental issues from occurring. For more information, and to find out if your child needs a space maintainer, call Great Grins for KIDS - Oregon City today at 971-470-0045.
Great Grins for Kids gets our highest rating. The dentists and staff are highly professional, yet compassionate and friendly. We have had experience with other dental practices that don't measure up. Getting our kids to Great Grins was a wonderful upgrade for our family. You set the bar very high! ~ Annabelle C.


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