If a child loses their baby teeth early or has to get them removed due to decay, the gap created as a result could cause the newly growing permanent teeth to move into the gap. This could cause tooth crowding once the other teeth in the mouth begin to erupt. At Center One Dental, Canonsburg, PA, we recommend the use of space maintainers to avoid this problem.
A space maintainer is a custom device made of acrylic or metal, which keeps the space cause by lost teeth open, allowing the permanent teeth to come into the right place. Space maintainers prevent the teeth from shifting into the open space caused by missing teeth, thereby eliminating the need for orthodontic and other dental treatments later.
Space Maintainers could be either fixed or removable. Removable space maintainers are usually made using acrylic and are similar to orthodontic appliances. An artificial tooth may be placed to fill the space that where the new tooth will erupt.
Fixed Space maintainers are of four different kinds:
- Unilateral: this is connected to a metal loop and wraps around the side of a tooth.
- Crown and Loop: consists of a crown to cover the tooth and attached to a loop to make sure there is space for the erupting tooth.
- Distal Shoe: generally used for unerupted first molars, a distal shoe maintainer has the end of the metal inserted into the gum line to keep the open space from closing up.
- Lingual: this space maintainer is bilateral and may be cemented to the molars and is connected by a wire to the inside of the lower front teeth. Lingual maintainers are used for more than one missing teeth.
To find out whether your children need space maintainers, schedule an appointment at the Center One Dental Clinic in Canonsburg, PA. Call (724) 213-2274 for appointments.