Space Maintainers in Saginaw, TX

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What is a Space Maintainer?

Sometimes children lose their baby teeth prematurely. This may be due to many factors, including extensive tooth decay, injury, periodontal disease, or certain medical conditions. Baby teeth lost too early can cause problems for erupting permanent teeth. It is important to have this space maintained by a metal oral appliance known as a space maintainer. A space maintainer will hold the space open in the mouth to prevent other teeth from shifting or leaning into this space.

Does your child need a space maintainer? Contact us at Saginaw Kids Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina. Both of our board certified pediatric dentists will be happy to consult with you for any questions you have about your child's dental needs.

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Does my Child Need A Space Maintainer?

Losing a baby tooth that is going to fall out anyway is no big deal, right? Well, not quite.

Your child’s natural baby teeth help guide the permanent teeth for when they are ready to erupt. If baby teeth are lost too early, surrounding teeth will shift into the space and will cause many issues with their permanent teeth. These complications can include some or all of the following:

  • malocclusion (misaligned bite)
  • an increased risk of teeth becoming impacted or erupting properly
  • crooked or overcrowded teeth (increased need for orthodontic treatment)

Luckily, your child will need to have a space maintainer for only a short period of time until their permanent teeth erupt. As long as you bring your child for their regular cleanings and exams, Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina will let you know exactly when it is time to have the space maintainer removed.

A space maintainer may not always needed. A space maintainer will not be needed if any of the four front teeth are lost too soon. This is because other teeth won't drift in this area. Another instance when a space maintainer may not be necessary is when baby teeth are lost but will soon be replaced with permanent teeth. Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina will make sure to discuss with you if your child will benefit from having a space maintainer.

Different Types of Space Maintainers

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Space maintainers can be fixed or removable. Younger children are not considered the best candidates for removable space maintainers because they may be tempted to take them out and may accidentally swallow them. 

Fixed space maintainers are secured into place typically with metal bands or wires that are placed around abutment teeth. These will need to be removed by the dentist.


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Distal Shoe

This is a fixed space maintainer that has a metal wire that runs along the gums to help guide the first permanent molars to erupt properly. These types of space maintainers will need to be vigilantly monitored with regular checkups by Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina.

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Band and Loop

This is the most popular type of fixed space maintainer. A wire made of stainless steel holds the space open and is attached to a band placed over the tooth immediately adjacent to the space.

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Lingual Arch

Another type of fixed space maintainer that is only suitable for children who have their first permanent molars. Bands will be fitted around these molars and will be connected to a metal wire that runs along the four lower permanent incisors. This space maintainer is used for multiple missing teeth on either one side or both sides of the mouth.

How Long Do Space Maintainers Stay In?

This is determined by a few factors, such as:

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The age of your child

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When the baby tooth fell out

When the permanent tooth will erupt

The duration that your child needs to wear a space maintainer could be as short as a few months to as long as several years. Dr. Elias or Dr. Christina will discuss these factors with you in detail at your child's visit. They will also let you know exactly when it is time for your child's space maintainer to be removed.

How To Take Care Of My Child's Space Maintainer?

Fixed space maintainers require regular brushing and flossing. There are also certain dietary restrictions your child will need to follow. These include avoiding foods that are excessively hard, sticky, chewy, crunchy, or sugary. These foods should be avoided to prevent damage to the appliance as well as to decrease the risk of tooth decay due to food becoming trapped in the appliance. As an additional precaution, you will need to make sure that you child does not play with their space maintainer so it does not become damaged.

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Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver Diamine Fluoride

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SDF (Silver Diamine Fluoride) is a non-invasive treatment used as an alternative to fillings. In this treatment, a mixture of silver, ammonia, fluoride, and water is applied to a decayed tooth. SDF hardens the tooth and kills the decay. This stains the tooth, but protects it from further damage. This is ideal for baby teeth, since they will fall out and be replaced by adult teeth in the future.

The Benefits Of A Dental Home

Making Saginaw Kids Dentistry your child’s dental home ensures they will become more familiar with the dental process, develop a healthy attitude toward dentistry, and create life-long relationships with our team. We’ll also be able to keep a close eye on their oral health and development, which ensures their smile stays strong as they grow.

Protect Your Baby’s Teeth

We provide expert pediatric care for kids of all ages, including infants.

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