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Parents are often worried when the pediatric dentist in Dubai advises space maintainers for children. The fear is mostly related to having a foreign object with bands and wires in the mouth. However, the use of a space maintainer is indispensable if your child has lost his or her baby tooth prematurely.

What Are Space Maintainers?

Pediatric Space maintainers are pediatric orthodontic devices used to maintain the space created due to premature loss of baby teeth, thereby providing sufficient space for the permanent teeth to erupt at the appropriate age and to prevent malocclusion. Space maintainers in children can be applied to both the upper and lower arch.

They can also be used to maintain single or multiple spaces. They are lab fabricated and are customized according to the measurements made by the dentist.

Need For Space Maintainers?

The complete set of baby teeth erupts by around 2.5 to 3years of age. Children can lose their milk teeth earlier than the natural exfoliation age due to various reasons such as dental caries, trauma, and severe infection. Pediatric dentists are keen to preserve the diseased baby teeth by treatment whenever possible. The unfortunate condition of premature loss of milk teeth before the expected time of eruption of the permanent successor calls for space maintenance for kids. If space has not been maintained, the adjacent teeth will move into the space closing the gap. This paves way for malocclusions in the permanent teeth such as misalignment and overcrowding. If the permanent teeth are expected to erupt shortly, there may not be any risk. However, it is best to listen to the advice of your pediatric dentist regarding this.

Types Of Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are of 2 types. Removable and Fixed. Removable space maintainers are advised for older children who are self-motivated to wear the appliance. These are advantageous in the way that they can be taken out of the mouth and cleaned properly. Fixed space maintainers are glued to the adjacent teeth with dental cement. Since compliance of the patient in wearing them is not crucial, most pediatric dentists prefer fixed space maintainers for better treatment outcomes. Space maintainers applied on one side of the arch are called unilateral space maintainers. Whereas when they are used to prevent gap closure on both sides of the arch, they are called bilateral space maintainers. Some commonly used space maintainers for children are Band and loop space maintainers, Crown and loop space maintainers, Nance palatal arch space maintainers, Lingual arch space maintainers, Transpalatal arch space maintainers, and Distal shoe space maintainers.

Indications For Space Maintainers

  • If lost tooth space show signs of closing leading to possible space inadequacy for the successors
  • To prevent further complications of an existing malocclusion due to loss of space
  • After extraction of the baby tooth, in the first 6 months
  • Delayed or altered eruption of permanent tooth
  • Congenital absence of permanent tooth
  • To improve the physiology of the child’s masticatory system
  • Esthetic correction

How To Care For Space Maintainers For Kids

Fixed space maintainers are glued to the tooth with dental cement and are expected to remain in place till the permanent teeth start to erupt. It takes a few days for the child to get used to the new thing in his or her mouth. Increased salivation and mild discomforts are normal. To care for the appliance, do the following,

  • Avoid chewing on hard and sticky food items such as candies, popcorn kernels, chewing gum, etc.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene, brush, and floss to remove plaque and food debris
  • Avoid manipulating the device with your tongue and hands
  • The appliance might require periodic checkups and maintenance. Do not delay follow-up appointments.
  • If the appliance dislodges or breaks, meet your pediatric dentist immediately.

Risks Of Having Space Maintainers In Children

The benefits of having a space maintainer for children outweigh the risks. Nevertheless the following points need to be reflected

  • Maintaining poor oral hygiene after having a space maintainer can cause plaque accumulation and caries leading to gum inflammation and tooth damage.
  • Treatment failure due to non-compliance of the child in wearing a removable space maintainer is not uncommon.
  • Devices such as the distal shoe space maintainer need to be constantly adjusted to facilitate the proper eruption of the permanent tooth. This means that you need to be consistent with your follow-up appointments
  • Long-term commitment towards the treatment is imperative.

Losing a tooth prematurely can be an unhappy experience for a child. It may affect his or her phonetics, chewing ability, and appearance. Many parents are falsely convinced by the fact that baby teeth are meant to be lost in the years to come and hence they need not be treated and maintained. This laxity towards pediatric dental treatments is alarming. Rest assured, with individualized professional care from a skillful and empathetic pediatric dental team, your child can have a healthy smile for years to come.

Do not hesitate; meet our Pediatric Dentist Dr.Bobby Paul today!

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