Space maintainers are often thought to only be needed for children; however, that is actually not true. They are provided by orthodontists who treat both children and adult patients. Keep reading to find out when space maintainers may be recommended to help patients ensure future good oral health.
A guide to needing space maintainers
Below is a quick overview of when space maintainers are recommended by orthodontists. Review this information when trying to determine if and when they are necessary.
Space maintainers are recommended by pediatric orthodontists when children lose a tooth or multiple teeth at a young age. The tooth loss may be a result of an accident, injury, or infection; however, the cause is irrelevant, as most of the time, a space maintainer will be required.
To better determine when a recommendation will be made, it is necessary to understand that children who lose their teeth prematurely will almost always need space maintainers. This is because, when baby teeth are lost too early on, the empty space that is left becomes at risk of closing. The teeth on either side of the gap can shift and close the empty space, which can lead to a serious problem when the adult tooth starts to erupt.
The natural process of losing baby teeth only occurs when the adult teeth are already starting to erupt, as this ensures that the space is only empty for a short period of time, making it impossible for the gap to close.
While space maintainers are rarely recommended for adult teeth, they are sometimes required. Orthodontists that treat adults may recommend space maintainers if a tooth has been extracted or lost. Just like with children's teeth, space maintainers can also help to prevent adult teeth from shifting and eventually closing over the empty gap. This can be especially helpful as it relates to orthodontics because some adults want to undergo braces or aligners treatment to address shifting. Additionally, tooth replacement may want to be done, such as with implants. In order for the implant to be evenly placed, a series of orthodontic treatment may be needed in order to ensure exact results.
What else to know
When being recommended space maintainers, it is important for both children and adults to know that the placement procedure is very necessary to ensure good oral health in the future. These small metal pieces can do wonders for the surrounding teeth and the entire oral cavity. It is always best to follow the orthodontist's recommendation to avoid problems from developing later on.
Find out more
Looking for more information on space maintainers? Consulting with an orthodontist is the best place to start. An evaluation can be done to determine whether or not space maintainers would be helpful. Additionally, the patient, whether a child's parent or an adult, can ask questions to get a better idea of what to expect. To learn more or to get scheduled for a consultation, contact us today!
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