At Ashcraft Orthodontics, experienced orthodontist Dr. Michael Ashcraft and his dental team use space maintainers to hold teeth in place throughout jaw and tooth development in young patients. Made of either metal or plastic, space maintainers can be fixed or removable and are custom made to fit each patient’s mouth comfortably. Typically, they are used in patients who have a mix of both baby and adult teeth (mixed dentition) in order to maintain enough space for all permanent teeth to develop properly. Space maintainers may also be used if a baby tooth was lost and the adult tooth is not ready to fully erupt. To learn more about space maintainers and if they may be beneficial for your child, contact Ashcraft Orthodontics in Little Rock or Jacksonville, AR to schedule an initial consultation.
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When a child begins to lose teeth, the surrounding teeth may be at risk for shifting into the open area that is left behind. Therefore, when permanent teeth begin to erupt, they may not have enough space to develop properly, which can lead to malocclusion or jaw misalignment. In this case, Dr. Ashcraft may recommend space maintainers to maintain the open space left by the missing tooth and reduce the risk of shifting. Young patients may require space maintainers if they lose a baby tooth before a permanent tooth is ready to erupt, or if a baby tooth was extracted due to damage or decay. During a thorough consultation, Dr. Ashcraft may suggest a space maintainer for your child to allow for the proper development of permanent teeth and prevent future oral concerns.
What to Expect
During your child’s consultation, Dr. Ashcraft and his team will take x-rays and impressions of the upper and lower teeth in order to decide which type of space maintainer is ideal for them. These impressions may also be used to create your child’s custom device. Once the space maintainers are ready, a follow-up appointment will be made so that Dr. Ashcraft can position the device and make any needed adjustments for a proper fit. Depending on the needs of your child, the space maintainer may be either removable or fixed. In most cases, the appliance is fixed in place with support from the surrounding teeth.
After the placement of your child’s appliance, Dr. Ashcraft will be able to give you an idea of the amount of time that it should be worn. It is important that you help your child maintain a proper at-home oral care routine with daily brushing and flossing around the appliance. Your child will also need to attend follow-up appointments to evaluate their progress with the space maintainer. They should also continue to receive annual dental exams and cleanings.
Depending on your dental insurance provider, your child’s space maintainer may be covered, at least in part, by your plan. Prior to your treatment, a member of our financial team will contact your provider to determine any additional out-of-pocket costs. We can also give you more information on the payment methods we accept along with information on financial planning.
As an advanced orthodontic solution, space maintainers can help to preserve the integrity of your child’s smile and prevent future dental issues from developing. Dr. Michael Ashcraft and his team are proud to offer this innovative treatment at Ashcraft Orthodontics to ensure a beautiful and healthy smile. Contact our practice in Little Rock or Jacksonville, AR to learn more and to schedule your initial consultation.