What Should a Parent Know About Space Maintainers?

What kind of dental appliances are space maintainers?

In several instances, due to genetic or some other factors like dental trauma, kids release their milk teeth before reaching the average age of losing them. In such cases, space maintainers are usually needed. As the name suggests, space maintainers are put in the place of the prematurely released teeth so as to act as a fill in between the remaining teeth. This is done to safeguard these vacant positions and to make sure that the permanent teeth are aligned properly. The primary motive of installing these dental appliances is to not let the remaining milk teeth care move in place of these vacant spaces as it can lead to the hindrance in the eruption of newer permanent teeth. Also, when permanent and milk teeth coexist simultaneously in the mouth of the children, the risk of misalignment of these teeth becomes very high. At such times, children should be examined regularly and thoroughly. Other than protection from these things, space maintainers prevent many dental conditions.

What situations can cause your child to need space maintainers?

Losing teeth earlier than average age

Kids are generally prone to developing cavities and cause their teeth to rot. This can lead them to require extraction of teeth. The reason for this higher risk of cavities in kids is the property of milk teeth being weaker. Due to this, the enamel part of these teeth decays easily. As already explained, the space created by the extraction of these teeth is to be filled with a specific type of space maintainers in order to protect the other teeth from being misaligned. It also aids the permanent teeth to grow without any hindrance.

Any accident causing Dental Trauma

Every child in their post infancy period walks clumsily. This makes them prone to fall and get hurt. Oftentimes, kids fall and hit their mouth leading to dental trauma. These kinds of traumas are commonly felt by the incisors of the child. In a significant population of children, these kinds of dental traumas lead to the loss of their teeth, especially frontal ones. In case the milk teeth are lost by the trauma, space maintainers are fixed in the vacant places as usual. Other than that, if a child loses his mature permanent teeth, then the procedure and the type of space maintainers vary a little.

Is there more than one type of space maintainers?

Yes, surprisingly, advances in the field of dentistry have made it convenient for every type of condition to be treated with appropriate appliances. Similarly to fulfill this purpose, space maintainers are of various types:

Transpalatal Arch (TPA)

If the teeth to be present on both sides of the upper jaw are lost, transpalatal arch space maintainers are used as a bilateral appliance. In this type of maintainers the molars are first whirled with bands, then a long, thin wire is attached to the band on each side of the mouth spreading across the palate. The main use of these space maintainers are the alignment of premolars of the upper jaw after the loss of their milk teeth due to dental trauma or premature loss of teeth.

Lingual Holding Arch (Upper and Lower)

This is a fascinating type of space maintainer in which the permanent molars of the upper and lower jaw are held together. This is the reason for which it’s called a lingual holding arch. This bilateral appliance is commonly used to maintain the vacancy in each dental arch. This kind of vacancy is needed for the emergence of premolars.

Band and Loop Space Maintainer

Speaking of the most widely used space maintainers, band and loop space maintainers happen to top that list. As it is a unilateral type of appliance, it is fixed only on a specific mouth side. These preventive dental appliances are used in place of the milk molar teeth of a child. These molars can be lost by any situation and are to be readily filled with maintainers. This is because the permanent teeth at the position of molars emerge a bit later than the other permanent teeth. So it should be kept in mind that they grow without misalignment. As the name suggests, there is a use of a band in this appliance which has its one end fixed to the appliance and the other end is to be anchored with the adjacent molar. The other side of this maintainer has a loop which is attached back of the primary molar. In pediatric dentistry, band and loop maintainers are used when the molar is prematurely lost. The advantage of this type of maintainer is its quality of being cheap and easy to mold for a specific mouth. However, as everything comes with a drawback, regular follow-ups are required in case of these appliances.

Distal Shoe

Distal shoe space Maintainer is a fixed unilateral type of appliance which means this appliance also gets fixed and that also on a single mouth side. This appliance is to be used in place of second milk molars when they are lost. However, the condition for using these appliances is that the permanent primary molars must not emerge. The composition for this type of appliance is a wire made of high quality steel. This wire is fixed in the second molar place but needs the position of permanent first molars to be efficiently spaced.

What kind of dental appliances are the removable partial dentures?

In some cases, parents prefer to install a set of removable partial dentures in their children after they lose teeth ahead of average time. The installing principle of this type of appliance is similar to that of a lingual holding arch. However, the structural difference between the two is that the partial dentures have attached teeth on it. This is due to the fact that these appliances have more cosmetic functionality.


In pediatric dentistry, space maintainers have a significant value. This is because no parent wants their children to suffer from hindered and misaligned teeth growth. If your child has prematurely lost their teeth due to reasons like dental trauma, contact Kids dental studio.

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