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You may have heard the term “space maintainer” thrown around in orthodontics, but what is it? This is an orthodontic device designed for children who lose primary teeth prematurely and are waiting for their adult teeth.

Premature tooth loss does not refer to when a child loses their primary teeth normally. Rather, this includes teeth that were knocked out in an accident or lost due to tooth decay. When a tooth is lost too soon, this can impact your child’s alignment. A space maintainer can help maintain proper alignment so the adult tooth can grow in properly and avoid needing later orthodontic attention.

Dr. Merissa Blais might recommend one of many kinds of space maintainers which generally fall into two categories: removable and fixed. The removable kind resembles a retainer. A fixed space maintainer attaches to the teeth or gums around the empty space and is typically a wiser choice for children who may not be able to care for a removable device or those who have lost a back tooth.

Caring for a space maintainer prolongs the device’s lifespan and makes sure that it does its job right. It should be cleaned during your child’s twice daily oral hygiene routine. Removable maintainers should be taken out and cleaned, while fixed space maintainers require focused attention in the mouth while brushing. Make sure to take good care of the gums where the space maintainer is placed.

If you believe your child may need a space maintainer, please don’t hesitate to call Blais Orthodontics in Scarsdale, New York at 914.472.9595 to set up an appointment. After all, we are the defenders of your family’s smile.