Space Maintainers
In Modesto

What Are Space Maintainers?

A space maintainer is a stainless steel oral appliance that is placed in the mouth where there is a gap due to a prematurely lost tooth. As the name suggests, it maintains the space in your child’s mouth by holding open the gap, preventing the surrounding teeth from moving, and encouraging the proper eruption of the permanent tooth.

 Has your child lost a baby tooth? Contact our Modesto children's dental team at First Smiles Children's Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chris Ha. We can examine your child’s teeth and determine if a space maintainer is necessary and which one type is most appropriate. Call (209) 343-3500.

Modesto space maintainers

Did you know…

Space maintainers are made of durable materials such as stainless steel, plastic, or acrylic.

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Types of Space Maintainers

Fixed or Removable

There are many different kinds of space maintainers that can be used depending on the specific teeth your child has lost and their position in the mouth. Your kids dentist in Modesto would first choose between fixed or removable space maintainers. 

Fixed is the most common option because young children tend to want to play with or remove their space maintainer if they can take it out. Removable space maintainers are not very common and are only used in older children who can comply with their treatment.


Then, we will decide if a unilateral or bilateral maintainer is necessary. Unilateral means a single tooth or multiple teeth are missing on one side of the mouth, while bilateral is used for teeth that are missing on both sides of the mouth.

Crown and Loop

The most common type of space maintainer is known as a band and loop which is used to maintain the space of a single missing tooth. A stainless steel band is placed around a tooth and a wire loop holds the space open. Alternatively, when a stainless steel crown needs to be placed around the abutment tooth, a crown and loop will be used.

Have questions about space maintenance? Find answers here.

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What Happens If My Child Doesn’t Get a Space Maintainer?

Parents may not realize the importance of their children maintaining healthy baby teeth since they are going to fall out anyway. However, these teeth serve many more purposes than just chewing and maintaining a good-looking smile. 

The baby teeth are responsible for holding the space in the mouth for the permanent tooth to erupt into when it’s ready. When this tooth is lost too soon, whether due to decay or oral trauma, there’s now nothing maintaining the space. 

This will cause the surrounding teeth to drift, which can cause orthodontic problems like crooked teeth. When the teeth shift, it can also block the space that the permanent tooth needs to be open to properly erupt. If there is no space for the permanent tooth to erupt, it can become impacted in the gums.

How Long Does My Child Need to Wear a Space Maintainer?

Your child will need to wear a space maintainer until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Because certain teeth erupt at different ages, it depends on the age your child was when they lost the tooth and what type of tooth it was. 

When permanent teeth are due to erupt very soon, your child may not need a space maintainer at all. However, if it will be a few years before the permanent teeth come in, a space maintainer could be necessary for a few years. 

Space maintainers are also unnecessary for the front four teeth in the upper and lower jaw. This is because the space will remain open when these teeth are lost, regardless of an oral appliance.

Your child will return for regular follow-up appointments with your children's dentist in Modesto to check on the condition of their space maintainer and to look for signs that the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. At this time, we can remove the space maintainer.

space maintainers in Modesto

Did you know…

Space maintainers can help prevent oral issues from forming later in your child’s life.

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Have questions about sedation options for your child? Find answers here.

Why is sedation used in dentistry?

Sedation is most often used to treat dental anxiety and keep children at ease during their treatment. Fear of the dentist is very common, and sedation can keep your child calm during their appointments. 

Additionally, sedation helps with pain and discomfort during more invasive procedures, such as tooth extractions. It also helps young patients feel more comfortable if they need to sit still for longer treatment times.

Is sedation dentistry right for my child?

As long as your child is healthy and is not taking any medications that may interfere with the sedation, your child should be a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Contact us to learn more about sedation options for your child. We can discuss any concerns you may have during a consultation.

What does sedation dentistry feel like for my child?

This depends on the method of sedation. With laughing gas, your child will feel light-headed, giggly, and relaxed, but will be fully conscious and aware of their surroundings. They will also feel less discomfort during treatment.

Oral conscious sedation and IV sedation will usually make patients feel groggy or sleepy. Your child will likely fall asleep, and probably won’t remember much about the procedure. However, they will not be unconscious, and can still be woken and respond to commands.

General anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation. Your child will be completely unconscious and will not feel anything or remember anything from the procedure.

Is sedation dentistry safe for toddlers?

When done correctly, sedation dentistry for children, even toddlers, is completely safe. Several precautions are taken to ensure a seamless experience. First, we’ll take a detailed health history to make sure we recommend the right sedation option. We’ll then discuss options with the parent or guardian so that you understand the effects and are prepared to care for your child after their procedure. All methods of sedation dentistry are provided by professional and skilled team members, so you rest assured that your child's well-being is of the utmost importance.

Did you know…

All the 20 baby teeth will fall out before your child becomes an adult.

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