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Did your child lose a tooth too soon? Dr. Daniel Bradshaw may suggest a space maintainer. A space maintainer is an orthodontic apparatus installed in the mouths of children who lose primary teeth prematurely while they wait for their adult teeth. Premature tooth loss refers specifically to when primary teeth that were knocked out in an accident or lost due to extensive tooth decay or infection.

When a tooth is lost in this way, the alignment of your child’s bite can gradually go out of whack. A space maintainer can help maintain the gap so the adult tooth can grow in properly. This will avoid the need for later extensive orthodontic attention to that area.

Depending on your child’s age and mouth, Dr. Daniel Bradshaw may recommend one of many types of space maintainers. These can be removable or fixed. Removable space maintainers are acrylic pieces comparable to retainers. Fixed space maintainers attach permanently to the teeth or gums around the empty space. The latter is typically a wiser choice for children who are too immature to care for a removable device or for those that are missing a back tooth.

Caring for a space maintainer well extends the device’s lifespan and ensures that it does its job. Removable maintainers need to be taken out and cleaned twice daily, while fixed space maintainers require focused attention in the mouth. Your child will want to take good care of the gums where the space maintainer is placed as well.

If you think your child might need a space maintainer, please call Bradshaw & Hathaway in Johnson City, Tennessee at 423-929-1126 for an appointment as soon as possible.