When it comes to orthodontic care, one question that often arises is, "How long do space maintainers stay in?" This is a crucial question, especially for parents whose children are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Let's dive into this topic and provide some clarity.
What Are Space Maintainers?
Space maintainers are devices commonly used in orthodontics, particularly for children who have prematurely lost their baby teeth. These appliances are custom-made by orthodontists like Dr. Robert Haeger at Haeger Orthodontics, and they serve a crucial role in keeping the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt in the right position. Without a space maintainer, other teeth might drift into the empty space, causing dental crowding or misalignment.
How Are Space Maintainers Placed?
The placement of space maintainers is a straightforward procedure that usually requires two appointments. During the first visit, Dr. Haeger takes an impression of your child's mouth, which is then sent to a dental laboratory to create the custom-fit space maintainer. On the second visit, the appliance is cemented onto the adjacent teeth to hold the space open.
Factors That Determine How Long Space Maintainers Should Stay In
The length of time a space maintainer needs to stay in place varies significantly depending on several factors:
- Age And Development Stage: Younger children might need to keep their space maintainers for a longer period if their permanent teeth are still several years away from erupting. Typically, space maintainers are used between the ages of 5 and 14, a crucial period for dental development.
- Type Of Space Maintainer: There are two main types of space maintainers - fixed and removable. Fixed space maintainers are cemented onto the adjacent teeth and generally stay in place until the permanent tooth starts to erupt. Removable space maintainers, like orthodontic retainers, can be taken out for cleaning but must be worn as directed by the Kent orthodontist.
- Individual Dental Progress: Every child's dental development is unique. The eruption timeline of permanent teeth varies from one child to another, which influences how long a space maintainer needs to be in place. Regular dental check-ups are crucial for monitoring this progress.
- Location Of The Space: The position of the gap in the mouth also affects the duration of space maintainer use. Spaces in the front of the mouth may require shorter usage times compared to those in the back, where molars erupt later.
Caring For Space Maintainers
While the space maintainer is in place, it's essential to maintain good oral hygiene. Encourage your child to brush and floss daily. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial to ensure the maintainer is in good condition and is serving its purpose. Avoid sticky and hard foods, as they can dislodge or damage the appliance.
Schedule Your Child's Visit Near Kent and Maple Valley Today
Your child's oral health is vital for their overall well-being, and space maintainers play a significant role in ensuring their permanent teeth come in correctly. At Haeger Orthodontics, we're committed to providing the best orthodontic care to our patients in Kent and Maple Valley, WA. If you have any more questions about space maintainers or other orthodontic treatments, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Request an appointment today by calling our practice and let Dr. Robert Haeger guide you on the journey to a beautiful, healthy smile.