Are Space Maintainers Safe for Kids?

Oral space maintainers help maintain space in a child's mouth after losing a baby tooth prematurely. These devices prevent the remaining teeth from shifting or moving out of their natural position, which can cause problems with the child's bite and overall dental health.  

While some parents may be concerned about oral space maintainers' safety, they are generally considered safe and effective for children when used as directed by a qualified dental professional. This article will discuss the benefits of oral space maintainers, how they work, and what parents can expect during the fitting and maintenance process.  

We will also address common concerns about the safety and effectiveness of these devices and provide tips for caring for your child's oral space maintainer. So, let's get started.

"Oral space maintainers are a common treatment option for children who lose their baby tooth prematurely. Almost 77.2% of pediatric dentists in the United States use them to preserve children’s oral health". 

Oral Space Maintainers for Kids 

Oral space maintainers are dental devices that preserve the space in a child's mouth when a baby tooth is lost prematurely before the permanent tooth can grow. These devices are custom-made to fit a child's mouth and help maintain proper alignment of the remaining teeth, preventing them from shifting and becoming misaligned.  

Oral space maintainers play a vital role in a child's dental health by preserving the space for permanent teeth and reducing the risk of future dental problems, such as crowding, crooked teeth, or bite misalignment.

Suppose you are concerned about your child's dental health or have questions about whether an oral space maintainer may suit your child. In that case, speaking with a qualified dental professional is essential. He can evaluate your child's needs and determine the best action to ensure his dental health and well-being.

Space Maintainers

Benefits of Space Maintainers for Kids 

Oral space maintainers provide many benefits for kids and can help prevent future dental problems. Let's explore some of the benefits of using oral space maintainers: 

  • Preventing Teeth Shifting: When a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, the remaining teeth shift or drift into the space because of the missing tooth. The space maintainer prevents teeth from going out of position. 
  • Preserving Dental Health: Oral space maintainers are particularly important for children who have lost their back teeth or molars. These teeth are crucial for chewing and maintaining proper alignment of the bite. Without a space maintainer, the remaining teeth can shift forward, causing crowding or misalignment of the permanent teeth that are still growing. It can further lead to more extensive and expensive orthodontic treatment in the future. 
  • Custom-Made to Fit: Oral space maintainers are custom-made to fit a child's mouth, ensuring they are comfortable wearing. The device fits snugly around the remaining teeth, securely held with wires or bands. It helps prevent discomfort and ensures that the space maintainer does not interfere with the child's daily activities or affect their speech. 
  • Easy to Maintain: Oral space maintainers are easy to maintain and care for. The device can be brushed and flossed like natural teeth, and regular dental check-ups can ensure it functions correctly. 

The Working Principle of Space Maintainers: How Do They Work? 

Oral space maintainers work by keeping a space open in a child's mouth after losing a baby tooth prematurely. This custom-made device is attached to the remaining teeth using wires or bands. The device holds the space open, preventing the other teeth from shifting and preserving the necessary room for the permanent tooth to grow. 

The working principle of oral space maintainers is to preserve the space in a child's mouth and prevent future dental problems caused by losing a baby tooth. By holding the space open, oral space maintainers can ensure that the child's permanent teeth grow appropriately without needing extensive orthodontic treatment later in life. 

What Can Parents Expect During the Fitting and Maintenance Process? 

Parents can expect to be involved in fitting and maintaining their child's oral space maintainers. Here's what they can expect during each stage: 

  • Consultation and Evaluation: Before the fitting process begins, a dentist will evaluate the child's dental health and determine if an oral space maintainer is necessary. He will explain the benefits of the device and how it works and answer any questions or concerns the parents may have.
Consultation and Evaluation
  • Fitting Process: At this step, the dentist will take impressions of the child's mouth to create a custom-made device. The dentist will attach the device to the child's teeth using wires or bands during the fitting process. Parents can expect their child to experience slight discomfort or soreness after the fitting, but this should subside within a few days.
  • Maintenance: Oral space maintainers require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function correctly. The dentist should check the device regularly to ensure it is still working and not causing any issues. With regular maintenance and check-ups, oral space maintainers can effectively preserve the space in a child's mouth and prevent future dental problems. 
  • Removal: The dentist will remove the oral space maintainer once the permanent tooth grows. The removal process is usually quick and painless. 

Common Parental Concerns About Space Maintainers 

While oral space maintainers are generally safe and effective for children, parents may have some common concerns about them. These include: 

  • Allergic reactions: Some children may be allergic to the materials used in oral space maintainers, such as metal or acrylic. It can cause discomfort or irritation in the mouth. 
  • Discomfort: Oral space maintainers can take some time to get used to, and some children may experience pain or soreness in the mouth while wearing them. 
  • Maintenance: Oral space maintainers require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent the buildup of bacteria and food particles. Parents may need to help their children with this process, especially if the space maintainer isn't removable. 
  • Risk of damage: Oral space maintainers can become damaged or dislodged if a child eats sticky or hard foods or engages in rough play.  
  • Effectiveness: While oral space maintainers help prevent dental problems caused by losing a baby tooth, they may not be effective in all cases. Sometimes, a child's teeth may shift despite using an oral space maintainer. 

Parents must discuss their concerns about oral space maintainers with their child's dentist. The dentist can provide relevant guidance on the best type of space maintainer for their child's needs. 

Caring Tips for Oral Space Maintaining Device 

Caring for your child's oral space maintainer is vital to ensure it remains effective and in good condition. Here we will discuss some tips to care for your child's oral space maintainer: 

  • Regular cleaning: Oral space maintainers require daily cleaning to prevent bacterial growth. For this, many dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste for cleansing the device. 
  • Avoid sticky or hard foods: Encourage your child to avoid eating sticky or hard foods that can damage the oral space maintainer. It includes items like gum, candy, popcorn, and nuts. 
  • Regular dental check-ups: Schedule regular dental appointments with your child's dentist to monitor the condition of the oral space maintainer and ensure it remains effective. 
  • Teach proper oral hygiene: Encourage your child to master the art of brushing and flossing to maintain good oral hygiene. It will help prevent dental problems that can cause the need for an oral space maintainer in the first place. 
  • Be vigilant for signs of damage: Regularly check the oral space maintainer for signs of damage or wear, such as cracks or loose wires. If you notice any issues, contact your child's dentist to have the space maintainer repaired or replaced. 

Final Words 

Oral space maintainers are an effective and safe solution for children who have lost a baby tooth prematurely. They help preserve the permanent tooth's space and prevent future dental problems. While concerns about their safety and effectiveness may exist, studies have shown that oral space maintainers are a reliable and successful treatment option.

Contact your kids' dentist in Stockton, Sajjad Rizvi D.D.S. at Happy Kids Dental, to learn about Are Space Maintainers Safe for Kids.


Types of Space Maintainers for Kids

*This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition*    

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