Space Maintaining Appliances for Children

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Space maintenance for children is not often started early enough. As most of orthodontic issues begin as the teeth and their positioning is being developed, there is no chance to catch them right away. If the orthodontist saw the child early enough, they could find a way to stop the problem from escalating. As they do not often get involved until the dentist brings them in, the opportunities are often missed. The main point of baby teeth is to leave the right space for adult teeth to come through. If one of these teeth is lost too early, others will move out of position and the adult teeth will come through crooked and out of position. There can be overcrowding as well as a severe overbite.

When the tooth is lost, it does not mean that severe problem must happen. By employing space maintaining appliances, the teeth can develop naturally and avoid unnecessary visits to the orthodontist. Although they have their part to play in the development of teeth, this does not mean they are the perfect solution as there are a few drawbacks to using space maintaining appliances. While they may be ideal for the teeth they are used for, they can cause problems for nearby teeth that are in the process of coming through.

Another downside is plaque. Obviously, they will not cause it but will be something that attracts it. If not caught and treated quickly, it could get worse and gingivitis will form. There must be a serious decision to be made as to whether it is worth using space maintaining appliances. Parents want to give the best chances to their to their children’s teeth to grow in the right place.


There are two main types of space maintaining appliances for children, and the orthodontist will have to make a clear examination to determine which one will be best. They are:

  • Removable – As the name suggests, it is possible to take these ones out. They tend to be made from acrylic and look like braces. If it is considered necessary, then there will be a false tooth attached to it and this will ensure that the space that needs to be maintained will stay.
  • Fixed – Here there are a variety of space maintaining appliances – lingual, unilateral, distal shoe and crown and loop.

As with braces, it is important to be careful what is eaten when wearing one. It will take time to get used to having the foreign object in the mouth, but if there are still issues after a few days, ask if it can be checked. With a removable one, there will be special instructions when it comes to keeping the teeth clean as the last thing the child wants is to damage the space maintaining appliances and have to have additional treatment. Ensure that there are plenty of visits made to the orthodontist until they are happy that there is no longer the need to use space maintaining appliances.

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