What is a space maintainer?

A space maintainer is a small appliance that effectively preserves the gap created by a missing tooth, so that when the time comes for the adult tooth to erupt, it can do so without any problems.

Why does my child need space maintainers?

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

If your child loses a tooth due to injury, infection or because an extraction is required, the missing space between the teeth may lead to overcrowding or crooked teeth. This is because the teeth coming in on either side of the space will begin to drift into the empty space, meaning there is insufficient space for their adult teeth.

A space maintainer can prevent this from happening, by taking over the function of the lost tooth and preserving the gap between the teeth.

Tooth development in children

Your child’s development can be best described as a series of naturally occurring events that follow certain patterns. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can disrupt these patterns.
The process of tooth eruption is no different.

During the normal tooth eruption process, baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth. To put it simply, a child’s baby teeth usually stay in place until their permanent teeth below push them out and take their place. This process guarantees that something very important will happen:

The permanent teeth will gradually put mechanical pressure on the baby teeth and stimulate resorption (melting away of the roots of baby teeth). This process is gradual and creates a passage for permanent teeth; guiding them into their correct position within the jaw.

This natural eruption process heavily depends on the presence of baby teeth in the jaw, as it is these that provide stability in the arch and ensure your child's bite remains balanced.

Unfortunately, despite parents’ best efforts, children do sometimes lose a baby tooth too early. For example, a tooth may be lost accidentally, or removed by a paediatric dentist to due to decay.

The early loss of a baby tooth can result in the loss of space in the arch, which can lead to crooked or impacted permanent teeth.

Space maintainers at Happy Kids Dental

Child Dental Space MaintainerAt Happy Kids Dental, we are experts in placing space maintainers to help children preserve the space between their teeth.

Made of metal and/or plastic, we offer fixed (cemented) or removable space maintainers. Whichever material we use, their purpose remains the same: to help your child develop the best bite possible and hopefully avoid the need for braces later on:

For most children, fixed space maintainers are the best way to go. This method sees us cement the space maintainer onto the teeth on either side of the space

Removable space maintainers are mostly used on young adults. These look just like a retainer, and are primarily for the purpose of cosmetic space filling

Whether fixed or removable, your child’s space maintainer will be custom-made by taking impressions of his/her mouth. Once a space maintainer has been installed, we recommend your child practices good oral hygiene at home and has regular professional dental cleanings. During your child’s regular dental check-ups with us, we will inspect the space maintainer and track the progress of the incoming permanent teeth. When the X-ray reveals that the tooth underneath is ready to erupt naturally, we will remove the space maintainer.

How much do children's space maintainers at Happy Kids Dental cost?

Space maintainer cost at Happy Kids Dental is £350

Space Maintainers - Q&A

Are space maintainers painful?

Space maintainers are small, quick and easy to get used to – with most children adapting to them within a few days. Your dentist at Happy Kids Dental will provide you with special instructions regarding oral hygiene, cleaning and diet, to keep the space maintainer in top condition and prevent food and decay-causing plaque from building up around it.

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