Your Dentist has recommended a Space Maintainer as part of your child’s treatment plan. Sometimes a tooth needs to be extracted due to: large cavities, abscesses, tooth fractures, etc. This is a last resort and despite our best efforts we have to plan for an appliance that can maintain the space where the tooth has to be extracted, as the adult tooth that is forming below will need space to erupt into the mouth as normal. Without the appliance, the teeth will drift into space and the adult tooth below will become impacted, creating an orthodontic problem that would need correcting.
Children normally lose primary molars between 11-12 years old, some are early and some are later, but unfortunately, sometimes we have to maintain that space for many years, waiting for the natural eruption of the adult dentition. X-rays are taken to calculate this.
An impression will be taken and the mold will be sent off to an overseas lab which takes approx. 4-6 weeks. In some cases when we have had to take the tooth out, we will rush a case through, but we do try to wait to extract the tooth close to the cementation of the appliance to minimize space loss while waiting on delivery.
As soon as the appliance arrives we will call you and fit your child in as soon as we can, to minimize discomfort and inconvenience.
If we have already extracted the tooth, it is very easy to put the appliance into place with dental cement, which requires a minute for it to set. The appliance has a passive fit and therefore doesn’t create any discomfort when being placed.
In the event that the tooth needs to be extracted, we will book the necessary time and coach your child through the treatment making it as comfortable as possible, maybe with the aid of nitrous if he/she is anxious. Once the area has clotted at the extraction site and your child is comfortable, we will cement the appliance as stated above.
It does feel a little strange at first, but children adjust very quickly and usually forget about it in the days following. Some children really enjoy their shiny ‘tooth jewelry’.
During routine appointments to see the dentist or hygienist we will check to see if the adult tooth is erupting under the appliance (see picture on previous page), once we see the adult tooth starting to come in, we remove the appliance which is quick and easy.