Space Maintainers

Space Maintainers

Kid missing teeth.Your child's little baby teeth have some big responsibilities. Until the adolescent years, they will not only help your youngster bite and chew (i.e., get proper nutrition) and speak correctly but also help guide the permanent teeth underneath them into proper position. In fact, a major function of baby teeth is to hold space for the adult teeth that will eventually push them out.

At least that's how it's supposed to work; sometimes, however, injury or disease can cause a baby tooth to be lost prematurely. When that happens, the permanent teeth that are coming in on either side can actually drift into the space that was reserved for another tooth. This can cause teeth to erupt out of position or to be blocked entirely, and it may result in crowded or crooked teeth.

Fortunately, if your child loses a tooth prematurely, there's a dental appliance that can be used to hold the space open for the permanent tooth that is meant to fill it. The device is, not surprisingly, called a “space maintainer” or a “space maintenance appliance.” Made of metal and/or plastic, space maintainers can be fixed (cemented) or removable, but either way their purpose is the same: to help your child develop the best bite possible and hopefully avoid the need for braces later on.

Fixed appliances are cemented onto adjacent teeth. They are made in many different designs: One consists of a band that goes around a tooth and then a wire loop that extends out from the band to hold the space; another features a loop attached to a stainless steel crown, which goes over a nearby tooth. In either case, the loop extends just to the point where it touches the next tooth. Fixed space maintainers are often preferred with younger children, because they are less easy to fidget with, break, or misplace than appliances that can be removed.

Removable appliances look like the type of retainer that is worn at the end of orthodontic treatment. It can have a false tooth on it, which is particularly useful when the lost tooth was visible in the mouth. Older children can usually handle the responsibility of wearing this appliance and caring for it properly.

Whether fixed or removable, your child's space maintainer will be custom-made after we take impressions of his or her mouth. A child will wear a space maintainer until x-rays reveal that the tooth underneath is ready to erupt naturally. It is very important that anyone wearing a space maintainer keep up good oral hygiene at home and have regular professional dental cleanings.

Space maintainers are also useful when one or more permanent teeth are congenitally missing — in other words, they have never existed at all. In cases like this, which are not uncommon, permanent dental implant teeth are often recommended for adolescents or adults to replace a tooth they weren't born with. But timing is very important with dental implants — they can't be placed in a growing child. Therefore, it is very important to use a space maintainer with a false tooth on it until jaw growth is complete and an implant can be appropriately placed. It's a simple, non-invasive way we can avoid a malocclusion (bad bite) with some timely intervention.

Related Articles

Baby Teeth - Dear Doctor Magazine

Early Loss of Baby Teeth If baby teeth are lost prematurely, other teeth can shift into the new space so that there is not enough room left for the permanent teeth to come in correctly; crowding or crooked teeth can result. Fortunately, a special oral appliance called a “space maintainer” has been designed to solve this problem... Read Article

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Lenexa Dentist - Lenexa Dental Office

This page provides you with practical information about our practice. It includes descriptions of our office location, including a map and directions, hours, appointment scheduling, insurance acceptance and billing policies.

Lenexa Family Dental
15220 W 87th St Pkwy
Lenexa, KS 66219
Tel: (913) 888-0005

Office Hours
Monday: 08:00 AM - 1:00 PM
02:30 PM - 05:30 PM
Tuesday: 07:00 AM - 1:00 PM
02:30 PM - 04:30 PM
Wednesday: 08:00 AM - 1:00 PM
02:30 PM - 05:30 PM
Thursday: 07:00 AM - 1:00 PM
02:30 PM - 04:30 PM
Friday:Every other Friday - 09:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

Appointments
We know you have many choices when choosing a Dentist in Lenexa, KS so we have made requesting an appointment a simple process via our Web site. If, for any reason you cannot keep a scheduled appointment, or will be delayed, please call us as soon as possible.

Insurance and Billing
We accept most traditional insurance plans, contact our office to verify acceptance of your plan. Lenexa Family Dental does not participate in Health Management Organizations; however, we will be happy to file your insurance claims for you. We accept checks, cash or credit cards. We also offer a flexible payment plan. Please see our Financial Coordinator for details. We are happy to file insurance for your reimbursement as long as you are free to choose your own dentist.

Payment Options
We accept check, cash, credit cards and Care Credit (Please see below for Care Credit).

Financing Options
Carecredit CareCredit is here to help you pay for treatments and procedures your insurance doesn’t cover. We offer No Interest* financing or low minimum monthly payment options so you can get what you want when you want it. You can even use CareCredit for your family and favorite pet.

With three simple steps, including an instant approval process, it’s easy to apply for CareCredit. After you’re approved, you’re free to use CareCredit for the services you choose including LASIK, veterinary, dentistry, cosmetic, hearing aids and more.

CareCredit is endorsed by some of the most credible organizations specific to each healthcare profession we support. And CareCredit is a GE Money Company, so you know you can count on us. For over 20 years, we’ve been helping over five million cardholders get the healthcare treatments they want and need. Now you don’t have to worry about saving up for the procedures you want and need. With CareCredit, the decision’s in your hands to get what you want, when you want it.

For more information or to apply online, visit carecredit.com, or feel free to contact our office and our financial coordinator would be more than happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have.