Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry provides complete pediatric care, taking care of both existing teeth and those permanent teeth that have yet to erupt. One key component of our orthodontic services is the use of space maintainers when needed.
What is a space maintainer?
Also referred to as a space saver, a space maintainer is an oral appliance that is used when a primary or baby tooth is lost too soon. The appliance maintains the space between the two remaining teeth until the permanent tooth erupts. It is typically used in cases where a child loses a baby tooth early or has a baby tooth extracted before the permanent or adult tooth is ready to erupt. The goal is to preserve the space so that the adult tooth has enough space to erupt when it is time. Otherwise, the existing baby teeth could drift into the space, causing problems like bite or tooth alignment later on.
There are two types of space maintainers:
- Removable – These are made of acrylic and similar to other oral appliances like mouth guards. A removable space maintainer looks similar to the retainers that often are prescribed after completing a course of orthodontic treatment with braces. We prefer to use a removable space maintainer for any visually prominent premature tooth so that no wires are visible when talking or smiling.
- Fixed – In this case, the space maintainer is bonded into the mouth in the area of the missing tooth. A fixed space maintainer stays in the gap until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt from the gum line, or when the adjacent primary teeth start to loosen. Fixed space maintainers have greater durability, and we can offer one of these in several different designs. They are made of metal, which is why they most often are used to maintain spaces in the back of the mouth.
All space maintainers used at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry are custom-made to guarantee effectiveness and the best fit possible.
Why are space maintainers necessary?
Losing a baby tooth too early can negatively affect the development of permanent teeth, the jaw, and surrounding muscles. If the proper spacing is not maintained, your child’s other baby teeth could shift into the open space. This can lead to the permanent teeth erupting at a crooked angle, with the possible consequences including in a misaligned bite or even jaw problems, while also making it more difficult to maintain good dental hygiene because it is harder to properly clean crooked teeth.
Care tips for space maintainers
Regardless of which type of space maintainer is used, it is important to keep the oral appliance clean and free of plaque and bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. These cavity-causing bacteria can accumulate on the perimeter of a space maintainer, potentially causing decay on the adjacent teeth or raising the risk of gum disease developing. Be sure to encourage your child to practice good dental hygiene: brushing twice per day, flossing daily, and seeing Drs. Max and Ariana Ebrahimian once each six months for a check-up and cleaning. If a fixed space saver is used, then you must limit your child’s consumption of chewy and sugary foods to prevent damage to the appliance.
Space Maintainers in Scotts Valley
Has your child lost a baby tooth ahead of schedule? Let us keep your child on course for a lifetime of good oral health by protecting their premature and permanent teeth by providing a custom-made space maintainer. If so, call Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 824-5111 to schedule a consultation.
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves patients located in the California communities of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley.