Q What is a Space Maintainer?
A It is very often a small stainless steel wire and
band joined together which is cemented on one of the teeth adjacent to a
gap where a permanent tooth should be erupting. Occasionally a plastic
plate may be used if more than one or two teeth are involved.
Q Why is a Space Maintainer needed?
A Usually when milk teeth are lost especially in the
back of the mouth, the following adult teeth that are developing in the
jaw are already near the surface and follow the lost teeth without any
problem. But occasionally some of the milk teeth may be lost prematurely
because of severe decay and unless the gap left by this tooth loss is
kept open until the permanent teeth in the gum are ready to erupt, the
teeth behind the space may drift forwards and the space lost. If this
happens crowding of the teeth often occurs and the permanent teeth in
question do not have enough room to come through in the correct
Q Will my Dentist provide this retainer?
A Space Maintainers have to be professionally made and
fitted, and only qualified dentists can provide you with them.
Q When will I need to wear it?
A If the Space maintainer is cemented onto one of the
teeth, the appliance is worn 24 hours a day until the permanent tooth in
question is erupting through the gum. If it is a removable plastic
appliance, it should be worn almost all the time, except during playing
sports. It must only be taken out for short periods, normally at least
twice a day for cleaning.
Q How long will I need to wear it?
A This all depends on how long it takes for the tooth
or teeth to erupt though the gum.
Q How do I clean it?
A Both removable and fixed appliances must be cleaned
thoroughly. Use the same brush that you use for cleaning your teeth. You
must be very thorough with a fixed appliance as it has little spaces
where food can get trapped. If the appliance is removable do remember
never to wrap them in tissues or paper handkerchiefs if you are not
going to wear them immediately. They will get thrown out with the paper
and the valuable appliance will need to be made again right from the