At Ashcraft Orthodontics in Jacksonville, AR, board-certified orthodontist Dr. Michael Ashcraft offers custom-made space maintainers for his younger patients. This orthodontic appliance may be beneficial for your child if they require more space in their mouth for the eruption of permanent teeth. Space maintainers are typically placed along the upper or lower arches of the mouth to preserve the space left by an extracted or prematurely erupted baby tooth. Often part of an early orthodontic treatment program, space maintainers can allow your child's adult teeth to grow in more evenly by providing more room along the jawbone. To schedule your child's very first ortho visit, or to find out if a space maintainer could help their oral health and teeth, contact our Jacksonville, AR office and speak to a member of our team.
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Space maintainers are ideal for children or younger patients who have both adult and baby teeth. Your child may require this appliance if they have inadequate space available in their mouth for the growth of new permanent teeth. Space maintainers work by creating an open space along the jaw to help permanent teeth erupt in their proper positions. If baby teeth are lost too early or extracted out of necessity, this can cause the nearby teeth to drift and shift into these open spaces. This can create the appearance of crooked or crowded teeth, which can cause a host of problems, like difficulty chewing and biting. To determine if this is the right treatment for your child, Dr. Ashcraft will perform a thorough examination of their mouth to assess any concerns.
What to Expect
Depending on your child's age and concerns, a fixed or removable space maintainer may be a part of their treatment plan. First, digital imaging will be taken of your child's mouth, as well as digital impressions of both the upper and lower teeth. Once these have been done, Dr. Ashcraft will perform a physical assessment of their mouth to look for any underlying issues. If a space maintainer is needed, one will be custom made to suit your child's mouth. These appliances come in a variety of styles, depending on the unique needs of your child, such as:
- Palatal or lingual appliance – This type of space maintainer is often used if tooth loss has occurred on both sides of the arch.
- Unilateral appliance – This model is ideal for younger patients who only require space preservation in one area of the mouth.
Dr. Ashcraft will use his decades of experience to determine the ideal device for your child. Space maintainers can be either fixed or removable, depending on your preferences, the severity of the issue, or your child's ability to consistently wear the appliance.
When your child returns to be fitted with their fixed or removable space maintainer, a member of our team will go over proper appliance care instructions and show them how the device should be worn to maximize its effectiveness. Your child should continue to attend their bi-annual checkups with a general dentist to maintain the overall health of their mouth. Along with seeing a general dentist, your child should also come in as necessary for follow-up appointments. During these check-ins, we will be able to assess their orthodontic improvement and make adjustments to the device as needed. The length of time the space maintainer will need to be worn will vary based on each individual's unique needs.
A portion of the costs of your child's space maintainers may be covered by insurance. A member of our team will contact your provider to ascertain your full coverage and benefits. If you do not carry insurance, or if you have any remaining out-of-pocket costs, Ashcraft Orthodontics accepts many payment options. These include medical financing through CareCredit, as well as our own in-house medical financing. We will always inform you of any costs upfront.
Healthier Teeth Early On
Receiving orthodontic intervention and care as early as in childhood can prevent a host of problems from occurring later on in life. To stay one step ahead of your child's oral health, schedule their first visit with board-certified orthodontist Dr. Michael Ashcraft. If any potential issues are detected, he will create a personalized treatment plan that could include space maintainers. Contact our Jacksonville, AR office for more information about early orthodontic care and the treatments we provide.