Downey Park Family Dentistry is excited to announce that our offices are reopen to serve our community. We are taking additional special measures to ensure the health and safety of our patients and team, and appreciate your understanding that things will look and function a bit differently in our office for the time being.
Space maintainers are made of durable materials such as stainless steel, plastic, or acrylic.
If your child requires a tooth extraction or loses a baby tooth early, a space maintainer may be recommended to help your child’s teeth stay properly aligned by not allowing the neighboring teeth to move into the new open space. Basically, a space maintainer will hold ‘space’ for the new permanent tooth to develop and erupt normally which may take several months.
Some types of space maintainers are removable. These may be more convenient for older kids, since they can be removed to brush and floss. Some removable space maintainers may even have an artificial tooth, which helps fill in the gap in their smile temporarily. But because they're removable, your child must be diligent about wearing their space maintainer regularly. That’s why, for most kids, we recommend a fixed “band and loop” space maintainer. These space maintainers are permanently fixed in place by Dr. Chris Ha. Fixed space maintainers can’t be lost and are less likely to be damaged, so they're a better option for younger kids.
Yes. If your child gets a fixed space maintainer from First Smiles Children’s Dentistry, they should avoid chewing on very sticky foods. That means no chewing gum, toffee, gummy candy, caramel, or similar foods. These could weaken and loosen the space maintainer over time, and are also hard to clean out from around the space maintainer.
Speaking of cleaning, you also should make sure that your child is brushing and flossing properly around their new space maintainer. Since food particles can get trapped in this area, the nearby teeth could be more cavity-prone. Proper oral hygiene is essential for reducing the risk of future cavities. Make sure to bring them into our office for routine six-month checkups and teeth cleanings, too!
Also, tell your child to avoid messing with their space maintainer. They should not poke or prod it with their fingers, tongue, pens and pencils, or any other objects. This could loosen their space maintainer over time.
The answer is usually “yes.” If your child loses a baby tooth early, a space maintainer is usually considered to be a “medically necessary” treatment by most dental insurance companies. This means that your dental insurance will cover the cost of a space maintainer, up to all applicable limits and based on your policy.
Our office team can let you know if this is a covered expense or you may contact your insurer with questions about your policy. Every insurance plan is different, so it’s a good idea to confirm your child’s coverage.
No. Getting a space maintainer is a simple and painless process. Your child may experience some slight discomfort as they adjust to their space maintainer, since it’s meant to put a bit of pressure on the nearby teeth. However, after an adjustment period of a few days, they won’t feel any discomfort at all.
If you notice that your child’s space maintainer is loose or it breaks, you should get in touch with First Smiles Children’s Dentistry right away. Dr. Chris Ha will need to repair or replace their space maintainer to ensure that the nearby teeth don’t move.T
he sooner you get help, the better. If your child’s teeth move after they break or lose their space maintainer, more complicated and expensive orthodontic treatments may be needed to restore the alignment of their teeth in the future.
Space maintainers can help prevent oral issues from forming later in your child’s life.
All the 20 baby teeth will fall out before your child becomes an adult.