Dental Spacers: How To Help Your Child Cope With Them

The use of dental spacers in young children is common for a very good reason- the “young” teeth in a child’s mouth are constantly moving, growing.  Therefore, dental spacers, sometimes referred to as space maintainers, are inserted as placeholders until the permanent teeth are ready to emerge. Children often need encouragement with dental spacers. Parents can help the dental professionals at Forest &Ray by staying on top of things like this at home.

Kids and dental braces
Children often need encouragement with dental spacers

 There are other ways a parent can help your child acclimate to dental spacers. When the orthodontist places spacers on your child’s teeth, teach your child not to pick at them or else they will fall out. And, since there might be a little soreness after spacers are applied, you can help by constantly reminding them that the soreness will soon go away and that they will have straighter teeth for life.

The two main types of dental spacers   

Fixed space maintainers: 

Depending on the position of the missing tooth and the condition of the surrounding teeth, the paediatric dentist may apply a “band and loop”, a “crown and loop”, or a “distal shoe type of spacer to  fill the empty gap. Fixed spacers are usually made of metal and are very durable. 

Removable space maintainers: 

Removable spacers are rarely used with young children.  Working a little like orthodontic retainers, special plastic parts fit into the empty slot to prevent the “drifting” of adjacent teeth.

Dental spacer
This is a dental spacer

Advantages of dental spacers

There are many advantages of spacers when it comes to child orthodontics. Here are the three main benefits:

  • Creating space between crowded teeth: If your child’s mouth is crowded with teeth, the orthodontist might feel that she needs a little space for the new teeth to come in. In such a case, they can use spacers to achieve the desired result. 
  • Making it easier to apply braces: With the help of spacers, the orthodontist will create space between the desired teeth so that the metal bracket can be applied correctly. The spacers or separators are usually placed a few days prior to the installation of brackets. After the spacers have done their job and space has been created, they will naturally fall away.
  • Keeping space for the new tooth: Kids sometimes lose a tooth before the adult tooth has set in. In such cases, the other teeth can cover the space and as a result, the adult tooth can come in crooked. A spacer will keep an adequate gap between the teeth, and the new adult tooth will come at the right spot. Without the spacer, the new tooth would come in between the crowded teeth and make the mouth even more crowded. This would certainly lead to the need for braces later.

Parents, by following up diligently at home and by encouraging their children to be patient, can increase the efforts of the dedicated professional team at Forest &Ray

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