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Space Maintenance

One of the most important roles baby teeth play is maintaining space for proper alignment and growth of permanent teeth later on. The longer baby teeth are maintained, the easier for permanent teeth to emerge or erupt in proper alignment. Because of that, when primary teeth have to be removed for various reasons such as abscess, trauma or accident, pediatric dentists recommend space maintainers. 

These devices hold the space for the permanent tooth’s future slot and keep the surrounding teeth in place. Space maintainers are temporary and are removed when permanent teeth erupt.

Common Space Maintainers Used by Pediatric Dentists

Unilateral. A band/crown loop is attached to one side of the mouth usually only replacing one tooth. It guides the permanent tooth to erupt in the right position. A distal shoe also holds space for a posterior tooth but is used when there is no tooth behind the one removed.

Bilateral. Two types can be used: one for the lower arch called a “lower lingual holding arch” and one for the upper arch called a “nance” or a “transpalatal arch”. They are used when more than one tooth is missing or on a patient with a mixed dentition.

Pedi Partial. Anterior space maintainer used when maxillary or mandibular teeth are extracted. Consists of a combination of an arch wire and resin replacement teeth. It can also be removable.

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