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Space Maintainers

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Space Maintainers

Sometimes, baby teeth are lost prematurely due to decay or accidents. Adjacent teeth tend to drift to fill the space, causing spacing and alignment problems for permanent teeth. Space maintainers are used to hold the space until the permanent teeth come in.

There are two main types of space maintainers:

Fixed space maintainers:

Depending on the missing tooth and age of the patient, Dr. Richards may place a fixed space maintainer to hold the vacant space. Band and loops are made of a very durable metal to hold the space securely. The spacer will stay there until the permanent teeth are near eruption. Missing esthetic teeth are replaced by a natural appearing acrylic tooth to preserve the healthy smile.

Removable space maintainers:

Removable spacers or “flippers” are rarely used with young children. Flippers replace the missing upper teeth that are lost from trauma or decay, but they require more cooperation. Working in a similar fashion to orthodontic retainers, the special plastic tooth fits into the empty slot to prevent the drifting of adjacent teeth and provide natural esthetics. These are most often used in adolescents to replace key teeth.