A space maintainer is a dental appliance
that holds or "maintains" an area in your child’s mouth
the way it was before premature loss of a baby tooth or multiple teeth.
Each baby tooth serves as a guide for the permanent tooth that replaces it.
If a baby tooth is lost early due to decay or injury, the permanent tooth loses its guide and may drift and erupt incorrectly into the mouth.
In addition, the neighboring teeth may move or tilt into the open space.
The result is crowded teeth that may present difficulty chewing and/or speaking.
FIXED UNILATERAL SPACE MAINTAINER
This is also called a “band and loop” space maintainer. It consists of a band cemented around the tooth adjacent to the empty space. A wire loop is attached to the band and extends across the open space.
A lower holding arch has bands on the teeth on both the right and left sides. A wire connects the bands and runs along the inside of the bottom teeth, and is called a lower lingual holding arch. The same appliance on the upper teeth is called a nance or palatal bar.
CARING FOR A SPACE MAINTAINER
Brushing and flossing around the space maintainer daily is vital to keep the gum tissue and existing teeth healthy.
Avoid sticky foods, candies, and gum that can get stuck in the loop or pull the band off.
If the space maintainer is loose or falls off, there is a risk of swallowing or inhaling it. Call the dentist immediately if this occurs.
Regular dental visits are necessary to monitor the space maintainer and determine when it can be removed safely by the dentist.