A space maintainer may be recommended for your child to assist in proper jaw development and tooth eruption. Space maintainers attach to teeth in the upper or lower arches to preserve a space left by a prematurely erupted or an extracted baby tooth. Dr. Michael Ashcraft custom makes these fixed or removable orthodontic appliances of medical-grade metal and resin materials to meet the individual needs of Central Arkansas patients. Space maintainers may also be part of early phase orthodontic treatment. If you think your child may need a space maintainer, schedule a treatment consultation with Ashcraft Orthodontics Little Rock today.
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Space maintainers are often recommended for patients who have mixed dentition in their mouth (both baby and permanent teeth). Your child may need a space maintainer if a baby tooth has been lost early and the adult tooth is not yet ready to erupt. A space maintainer may also be necessary if your child has a tooth that is decayed or damaged beyond repair and must be extracted to preserve their oral health.
These devices hold open an area in the jaw where a baby tooth has been lost and help to guide permanent teeth into their proper positions as they erupt. When teeth are lost or extracted, the neighboring and opposing teeth start to drift into these open spaces. This can cause changes in how the teeth fit together (bite), crowding of the teeth, and difficulty biting and chewing, and can prevent a permanent tooth from erupting properly. Dr. Ashcraft will evaluate your child’s mouth and determine if they would benefit from a space maintainer.
What to Expect
Based on your child’s age, needs, and other dental factors, Dr. Ashcraft may recommend a fixed or removable space maintainer. Our team will take a panoramic x-ray of your child’s jaw along with impressions of the upper and lower teeth and make models of their mouth. This information will help Dr. Ashcraft to plan for the best possible treatment outcomes. We will send these models to our special orthodontic lab for the creation of your child’s custom space maintainer. When the appliance arrives back at our office, we will have your child return to have it placed.
Space maintainers are made in a variety of ways to address different patient needs. A palatal or lingual appliance may be recommended if your child has experienced tooth loss on both sides of the arch. Unilateral models are also available if space preservation is required in a single area. Dr. Ashcraft will inform you of the ideal option for your child’s needs and comfort. Space maintainers can be fixed or removable. In many cases, however, space maintainers are bonded with temporary cement to teeth within the arch to keep these appliances in the position where they will work best.
When Dr. Ashcraft has placed your child’s space maintainer, our team will review instructions on how to keep it clean and give you an idea of how long it will need to be worn. Treatment time with this type of appliance will vary according to each patient's individual needs. Since space maintainers create extra spaces where plaque and food tend to collect, we encourage you to help your child with their home care efforts during this time. Our clinical team can also provide tips on how to best brush and floss the teeth and maintain oral health during this phase of care. Additional hygiene tools may also be useful during this time and may be suggested by Dr. Ashcraft. Regular dental cleaning and exams with your child’s general dentist are also key to maintaining a healthy smile. We will schedule follow-up visits at our practice periodically to check the appliance and monitor your child's progress.
Dental insurance plans may offer some coverage for treatment with space maintainers. Before creating your child’s appliance, we will contact your provider to review your child’s list of covered benefits. Ashcraft Orthodontics Little Rock is pleased to accept most major dental insurance plans and is happy to work with you to make any out-of-pocket expenses fit comfortably within your budget. We accept several convenient payment methods, including CareCredit® and our own in-house financing plan.
Space maintainers from Dr. Ashcraft in Little Rock, AR may be a standalone treatment or part of orthodontic therapy to help your child enjoy a happy, healthy smile. These fixed and removable appliances preserve space in a child’s developing jaw when baby teeth are lost a little too early. Find out more about the advantages of space maintainers by reserving a treatment consultation at Ashcraft Orthodontics Little Rock today.