Bridging the Gap: Space Maintainers for a Healthy Smile Alignment

Help your child maintain a healthy and beautiful smile with preventive dentistry for kids at Bourne Orthodontics.

Prevent Crooked Teeth in Children with Space Maintainers
Don't let premature tooth loss in kids cause bigger problems in adulthood.
Kids with space maintainers are smiling and playing with hoops

What happens when a child loses a baby tooth too soon, and the adult tooth isn’t ready to come in just yet? Your child risks having crooked teeth. That’s because primary teeth are placeholders for adult teeth and the extra gap may cause surrounding teeth to shift.

Premature gaps in your little one’s smile may lead to more expensive and time-consuming procedures in the future. For example, misaligned teeth in their teenage years could mean thousands of dollars in braces. So be like the tooth fairy, and keep an eye out for lost teeth!

Your local general or pediatric dentist can help prevent this by determining if your child needs a space maintainer, a simple device that keeps the space open until the new tooth comes in. Common reasons for premature tooth loss in kids:

  • Accidents or trauma
  • Tooth decay
  • Natural causes

At Bourne Orthodontics in Lake Stevens, WA we help children keep healthy and happy smiles using safe and comfortable dentistry for kids. If your child has lost a tooth or multiple teeth prematurely, please contact us for an exam.

Benefits of Space Maintainers
Better Alignment

Space maintainers keep gaps open so the surrounding teeth stay in place and the new teeth can grow into their proper alignment.

Prevents Braces

Early intervention with a space maintainer helps prevent the chances of your child needing braces in the future by guiding teeth into place early on.

Magic wand
Fits Comfortably

Our space holders for children are all custom-fit and safe to wear. Your child will quickly get used to it as it helps hold teeth in place.

How Space Maintainers Work
Our Dentist in Lake Stevens, WA makes dental care for children easy and comfortable.
A smiling girl wondering how space maintainers work

While the natural body does a great job of taking care of itself, sometimes it needs extra help. For example, when a baby tooth falls out way too soon and the permanent tooth isn’t ready to come in just yet. Fun fact: some teeth don’t come in until the age of 12 or 13!

This puts your child’s jaw and teeth alignment at risk due to shifting teeth, but our dentist at Bourne Orthodontics in Lake Stevens, WA is here to help with space maintainers.

  • Step 1
    At the first appointment, we check your child’s mouth, existing teeth, and development to determine if a space maintainer is necessary.
  • Step 2
    Our dentist recommends the best type of placeholder (we have fixed and removable options available), and we take impressions of your child’s mouth.
  • Step 3
    The final step is the placement of your child’s custom space maintainer. We double-check the fit and comfort and let you know when to come in for a follow-up.

For fixed oral appliances – once the permanent tooth starts erupting, please contact our dental practice and schedule an appointment for a space maintainer removal. Getting a space maintainer is a fairly quick and inexpensive process, but it makes a big difference in children’s lives!

‘‘Our family has been so impressed by Bourne! They helped us navigate our oldest getting braces, which meant answering a ton of our questions and what-ifs with knowledge and confidence. The staff is ridiculously friendly and approachable, the appointments are super quick and the kids always look forward to seeing what special the office will have during their visits.. ice cream? hot chocolate bar? I highly recommend Bourne Orthodontics!’’

Heidi R

‘‘Dr Bourne and his staff are amazing! My end results of two years in braces was great! Highly recommend them to anyone! Recently referred my aunt and little cousin to Bourne ortho and they are so far very pleased with Dr.B and the staff as well. 🙂’’

Chantel H

‘‘Bourne Orthodontics has the most caring and friendly staff! My daughter was a patient there for over two years, and every visit we felt welcome and everyone really takes time to make sure you have all the info and supplies needed. I highly recommend Bourne Orthodontics!’’

Danielle Lofstedt

‘‘I LOVE Dr. Bourne and all of his staff. My children have been patients there for 10+ years- from headgear, to a spacer to both needing braces. Everyone here is so friendly, and treats each patient with so much kindness. I refer everyone I know to Dr. Bourne for orthodontic needs, I believe they are the best of the best! I can’t give enough praise to their team.’’

Sasha Alexander

FAQ about Space Maintainers
  • What does a space maintainer do?
    Dental space maintainers help leave enough room for permanent teeth to come in. When a baby tooth is lost too soon, this custom-made oral device holds the space open for the new tooth. Without it, the surrounding teeth may shift due to pressure during chewing and biting.

    A child’s primary teeth tend to fall out when their permanent teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, the new teeth grow into place and create a straighter smile and better bite when this happens. However, in some cases, a baby tooth falls out prematurely and may lead to alignment problems.

    The goal of a space maintainer is to prevent and treat problems early on in children to avoid more expensive orthodontic treatments in adulthood.

  • When do you use a space maintainer?
    Our dentist may recommend a space maintainer if a baby tooth falls out sooner than it should and the permanent tooth won’t come in for some time. We use the device to hold the surrounding teeth in place and leave the gap open.

    There’s no need to panic because teeth don’t completely shift overnight, but it’s important to schedule a consultation if your child experiences premature tooth loss.

    Common causes of baby teeth falling out prematurely include:

    • Congenital anomalies
    • Accidents or mouth trauma
    • Cavities
  • How are space maintainers put in?
    Space maintainers are put in using different methods depending on the type of device. They’re custom-made and custom-fit and available in different materials, sizes, and systems.

    Your child’s dentist will recommend a fixed or removable option based on your child’s needs and age. The oral appliance can be placed and held on teeth using crowns, wire, or acrylic.

  • Are space maintainers safe?
    Our dentist safely places and checks space maintainers for comfort, fit, and function. The whole process is painless and quick.

    Unlike orthodontic systems like aligners or braces, a space maintainer doesn’t shift teeth. Instead, it holds the teeth in place, so your child shouldn’t feel any discomfort besides getting used to it at the very beginning.

  • What is the best space maintainer?
    While primary teeth are the best space maintainers, our dentist mimics this with a custom appliance that does the job just as well. After an initial consultation, we recommend the best type of device for your child’s smile.

    Please schedule a children’s dentistry visit in Lake Stevens, WA at Bourne Orthodontics to learn more.

Learn More About Preventive Dentistry for Kids

Find out how we help kids grow healthy smiles.