What are Dental Space Maintainers for Kids?

July 15, 2022

At Utah Orthodontic Care, we focus on providing quality orthodontic care for patients of all ages. Good orthodontic care doesn’t just start during adolescence when it’s time for braces. Sometimes, orthodontic treatment is required early on to prevent more serious orthodontic issues from occurring down the road. One such treatment is a dental space maintainer — but what is this and how can it help your child?


Dental Space Maintainers

Dental space maintainers, also called a tooth spacer, or a spacer for teeth, is an oral device used to create space for permanent teeth to come in if baby teeth are lost prematurely. If a baby tooth is lost earlier than is typical, there is the possibility that teeth can shift, leaving too little room for permanent teeth to emerge.


Types of Tooth Spacers

There are several different types of dental space maintainers that fall under two main categories: fixed and removable.


Fixed spacers are semi-permanent and remain in until permanent teeth have come. Types of fixed spaces include crown and loop, lingual, distal shoe, and unilateral. Your orthodontic specialist at Utah Orthodontic Care can give you more details on each of these four types.


As the name implies, removable spacers can be put in and taken out as needed throughout the day and are a great option if your child’s permanent teeth are not far off.


Reasons Your Child May Need a Tooth Spacer

Spacers may be necessary for a variety of reasons, such as early baby tooth loss from tooth decay or injury. In some cases, a tooth might become over-retained, which is when a tooth loosens but then tightens up again, which obstructs permanent teeth from emerging.


How Long Does Treatment Last?

The length of treatment will vary from patient to patient depending on how early in life they require a tooth spacer. Spacers for teeth are worn from the time the baby tooth is lost up until permanent teeth emerge.


Dental Space Maintainer Care

Caring for your tooth spacer will vary depending on the type, but in general it’s best to avoid overly sticky food and candy, including gum. It’s also extremely important for your child to maintain good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing, and seeing their dentist regularly.


Early Treatment with Utah Orthodontic Care

Early treatment helps catch and prevent orthodontic issues from occurring or worsening in severity, and is important to your child’s overall oral health. If it’s time for your child’s first visit to Utah Orthodontic Care, contact us to schedule an appointment and start your child’s journey to better oral health today!