3 Things to Know About Dental Spacers

A dental spacer, also called a space maintainer, is a common type of dental product used for kids. If your child's dentist recently told you that your child needs one of these, you may wonder what it is and why it is needed. Dental spacers are products used to hold a space in a person's mouth, and here are three things you should know about them.

What are they?

A dental spacer is usually made up of several key parts, which include crowns and wire bars. The crowns are placed on teeth in a child's mouth while the wire bars will fill in the space where a tooth is missing. The purpose of a spacer is to hold the teeth in place so they do not shift and fill in a gap where a tooth is missing.

Why are they so important?

The reason dentists use spacers is to stop teeth from filling in gaps. If a child has a gap where a tooth should be, the teeth next to the gap will naturally move to fill in the gap. If this happens, the child's permanent tooth will not be able to erupt properly, and this could lead to a number of problems. One problem is crooked teeth, and another problem this can lead to is impacted teeth.

What causes a child to need one?

If your child's dentist suggested using a spacer, it is because your child has a gap in his or her mouth. This gap could be a result of several different things, and here are some of the common causes for gaps in the mouths of children:

  • The child did not have a baby tooth.
  • The child does not have a permanent tooth in that space.
  • The child's baby tooth was knocked out too soon.
  • The child's baby tooth had to be extracted due to decay.

When a spacer is placed in a child's mouth, it will remain in place until the permanent tooth is beginning to erupt. As soon as that happens, the dentist can remove the spacer. If there is no permanent tooth in that particular space due to a congenitally missing tooth, the dentist will be able to make suggestions as to how to handle that problem.

Dental spacers are very important for situations like the ones described here. If you would like to learn more about these devices, contact a dentist in your city today.