Pediatric dental space maintainers
In children, temporary teeth are lost due to the force and pressure exerted by the permanent units, which are replaced by the temporary ones.
The order of eruption is influenced by the presence of permanent tooth buds.
It develops in accordance with age.
Sometimes the eruption may be accelerated or delayed, deviating from the physiological limits, but respecting the order, and at other times, the whole eruption process may be upset by certain situations found in the oral cavity.
For example, premature loss of temporary teeth either due to extensive carious processes or trauma can cause migration into the space left open, which leads to the eruption of permanent teeth being jeopardized.
If a temporary tooth has been lost, intervention with a device called a space maintainer is needed to prevent migrations of the addicted teeth and consequently, limiting the eruption site for the permanent tooth.
Space maintainers are standard pieces designed by the general dentist or orthodontist, made of acrylic or metal to keep neighboring teeth in their original position, away from the edentulous space.
Not every child who loses a dental unit prematurely requires the application of space maintainers. However, a consultation with your doctor will clarify the need for this device.
Types of space maintainers
Fixed: they do not come off the teeth and can be of various shapes, such as a dental crown with a unilateral arch or a lingual retainer.
The most commonly used unilaterally applied space maintainer is the dental arch crown. The crown is cemented to a tooth adjacent to the edentulous space.
By extending the arch or loop towards the edentulous site that makes contact with the neighboring tooth, the space required for the eruption of the permanent tooth is ensured and the occlusion will not suffer.
The lingual retainer is usually used bilaterally, is connected to the inner surface of the mandibular front teeth and is a good treatment solution when we have several spaces left edentulous following the premature loss of temporary teeth.
Mobilizable: similar to functional orthodontic appliances, they are usually made of acrylic and rest on soft tissues, and are fitted with wires or even artificial teeth in the edentulous spaces to preserve the optimal eruption space for permanent teeth.
Wearing a space maintainer can be difficult in the early days for the child, until they get used to it, whether the device is fixed or removable.
The dentist should explain to both the child and the parent specific hygiene methods to keep the gums and teeth clean and free of plaque deposits.
If the space maintainer is fixed, it is important for the child to avoid using chewing gum and sticky foods such as lollipops and caramels, which can stick to the maintainer structures and destabilize it.
Also avoid pressing the retainer with your tongue or fingers, as this will alter the shape of the arch that holds the space for the permanent tooth to erupt.
Regular visits to the dentist or orthodontist are necessary to correct any minor changes in the retainer and to ensure professional hygiene of the oral cavity.
Understanding the role and importance of orthodontic space maintainers in children is essential in maintaining their long-term dental health.
These appliances play a crucial role in maintaining the position of teeth in the oral cavity, ensuring their correct alignment and preventing orthodontic problems in the future.
An orthodontic space maintainer is a fixed or mobile dental appliance used to maintain the space between teeth. These appliances are commonly used after a child has lost a temporary or permanent tooth, but the new tooth has not yet emerged.
In this case, the orthodontic space maintainer will help maintain the space needed for the new tooth to grow into the correct position.
Orthodontic space maintainers are important for several reasons. Firstly, they help to prevent overcrowding of the teeth and maintain their correct alignment in the oral cavity. Orthodontic space maintainers also help to prevent orthodontic problems such as over-erupted teeth or the development of a condition called ‘crowding’.
Crowded teeth can be a major problem for children and adults. These teeth can cause pain, discomfort and problems with eating and oral hygiene. Crowded teeth can also be associated with other health problems such as tooth decay or periodontal disease.
In addition, orthodontic space maintainers can help reduce the length of time needed for subsequent orthodontic treatments.
By maintaining the space needed for tooth growth, these devices reduce the chances of subsequent orthodontic treatments to correct the position of teeth.
Types of orthodontic space retainers include fixed and mobile retainers. Fixed retainers are attached to the teeth with dental adhesive and can only be removed by an orthodontist.
They are commonly used to maintain the space between the teeth on the front of the jaw.
Movable retainers are devices that can be removed and reused. They are more comfortable and easier to wear than fixed retainers and are used to maintain the space between the teeth at the side of the jaw.
Mobile retainers come in different shapes and sizes and are suitable for children of different ages and stages of dental development.
In general, orthodontic space retainers are used for a period of several months to several years, depending on the individual needs of each patient.
The duration of orthodontic space maintainer use depends on the stage of development of the teeth and how fast they grow.
During orthodontic retainer use, it is important that your child pays particular attention to oral hygiene, especially brushing and flossing, to prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.
Before recommending an orthodontic space maintainer for your child, it is important to consult an orthodontist to assess your child’s dental health status and determine if this appliance is necessary and appropriate for your child.
Your orthodontist will also be able to give your child detailed instructions on how to use and care for the space maintainer.
In conclusion, space maintainers are an effective and important option in maintaining dental health in children.
These devices help to maintain the correct position of teeth and prevent long-term orthodontic problems.
It is important to consult an orthodontist to assess your child’s dental health and determine if a space maintainer is necessary and appropriate for your child.