Pediatric dental tips can come in handy when you have a baby who is teething. This process can be an uncomfortable time for your little one. It can also be a difficult time for you. The tiny gums of an infant experience swelling and tenderness as the emerging primary teeth begin to break through the…
Ask a Top Orthodontist in Phoenix About Space Maintainers
Top orthodontists often recommend space maintainers to ensure proper space for a permanent tooth to emerge, reducing the risk of spacing concerns (i.e. overcrowding) once the child develops all of their permanent teeth. This review from a top orthodontist in Phoenix discusses the role of space maintainers in early orthodontic (phase 1) and orthodontic (phase 2) care.
First things first: what is early orthodontic care, and is it really necessary?
Early orthodontic care, also called phase 1 treatment, involves orthodontic services that prepare the mouth for braces, clear aligners, and other primary orthodontic treatments. Phase 1 treatment can also minimize or even prevent the need for orthodontic services later.
One of the primary goals of early orthodontic care is to ensure the optimal spacing and alignment of the jaw before the child has all of their permanent teeth. Doing so minimizes the risk of malocclusions and teeth misalignments. Phase 1 treatment can also help address issues such as protruding teeth and a narrow jaw. Early orthodontic care can significantly reduce the need for orthodontic care later and subsequently help parents save money and prevent the need for a long orthodontic process for their child.
A detailed review of space maintainers from a top orthodontist in Phoenix
Space maintainers are often an integral part of early orthodontic care. The following is a general overview of space maintainers, providing answers from a top orthodontist in Phoenix to frequently asked questions from parents.
What are space maintainers?
Space maintainers are orthodontic devices primarily used in early orthodontic care (or phase 1 orthodontics). They maintain the optimal spacing between teeth after a baby (primary) tooth falls out prematurely. They may also be placed after necessary extraction procedures as well. Space maintainers can reduce the risk of overcrowding when the child’s permanent teeth emerge fully. These simple appliances are semi-permanently fixed and are only removable by the dentist at the end of treatment. They are non-invasive and should not cause much discomfort while they are worn.
When do top orthodontists prescribe space maintainers?
As mentioned, top orthodontists usually recommend space maintainers when baby teeth fall out or are extracted earlier than anticipated. When this occurs, there may be a large time gap between when the baby tooth was removed and when the permanent tooth comes through the gums. During this time, alignment concerns could develop. If the orthodontist detects the potential (or likelihood) of crooked or overcrowded permanent teeth developing, they may recommend a space maintainer.
What do space maintainers feel like?
Children usually adjust quickly to wearing space maintainers. The space maintainers may cause occasional but mild discomfort. However, this should be temporary and tolerable. For the most part, your child should not feel bothered by the space maintainers.
How long are space maintainers worn?
Children wear space maintainers until the permanent tooth (or teeth) are ready to emerge through the gums. Of course, the exact length of time depends on where the patient is in their development; a younger child may need to wear the space maintainer for a year or more, whereas a child who is eight or older may only need the maintainer for a few months. The orthodontist, along with the parents, can monitor the progression of the child’s teeth development. Once the permanent teeth show signs of emerging (or emerging in the near future), then the maintainer is removed.
How can I help my child take care of their space maintainers?
Space maintainers are relatively durable, but they can be vulnerable to chewing sticky or hard candies, gum, etc. It is important for your child to avoid chewing gum with their space maintainers or biting down on hard candies. It is also imperative to keep teeth and the space maintainer(s) as clean as possible. This should involve a consistent and thorough oral care routine. If the cement for the space maintainer comes loose for any reason, it is important to notify the orthodontist immediately so they can schedule an appointment to fix it.
Schedule a visit with our orthodontist in Phoenix
If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, then call our orthodontic practice or send us a message today to schedule a visit. We take genuine appreciation in assisting our patients (and their parents) through the entire treatment process, from early orthodontic care (phase 1) to wearing a retainer and ensuring a straight and healthy smile for life.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Orthodontist in Phoenix, AZ.
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