Tooth spacers are dental devices which are designed to maintain arch space in the case of tooth loss. Primarily used in the orthodontic treatment of children, tooth spacers prevent permanent teeth from erupting out of position or from being blocked. As such, since tooth spacers work to prevent rather than to correct dental problems, they are classified as preventive devices. But, for missing tooth restoration, dental implants can be your best solution. If you’re curious on how much dental implants cost, you might wanna consult your dentist.
Types of Tooth Spacer for Missing Tooth Treatment
There are two different types of tooth spacer available. Namely, a removable spacer and a fixed spacer. Both, it’s worth mentioning, work toward the same goal of helping the wearer develop the best bite achievable.
Removable spacers are best suited for slightly older children who are capable of caring for the device. Devices of this ilk resemble retainers and use bricks of dental material or artificial teeth to maintain the desired gap between teeth.
The design of fixed spacers is ideally suited to very young children who have lost a back tooth. Unlike the removable variant, these spacers are secured with dental cement to teeth adjacent to the gap. Spacers of this design are adaptable. They can be fitted equally to the upper or lower jaw and can be used to hold the gap between both front and back teeth. Moreover, fixed spacers can be fitted unilaterally to one side of the mouth or bilaterally to both sides of the mouth.
There are a number of different fixed tooth spacers available.
Band and Loop Device
Typically, devices of this design are used following the loss of one or more baby molar in a single dental arch. As their name suggests, band and loop devices comprise a stainless steel wire which is secured by orthodontic bands.
Several reports have found tooth spacers of this kind to have a high success rate. However, problems regarding the disintegration of dental cement, formation of caries, and construction time have also been recorded.
Lingual arch spacers are used in cases where the lower back teeth have been lost. To construct a lingual arch, orthodontic bands, which are placed bilaterally on morals, are connected by a heavy wire.
Tooth spacers of this design are fitted to the upper jaw in order to maintain space on both sides of the mouth. Bands are fitted bilaterally to morals and connected via a heavy wire. The name of the device is derived from the fact the wire crosses the hard palate without touching the soft tissue.
Such devices are easier to clean than similar nance appliances but come with the disadvantage of being less stable.
Nance appliances are most commonly used to prevent upper molars from moving forward. Again, nance appliances consist of fixed orthodontic bands which are connected by a wire. What differentiates this design is the fact that the bands are attached to the first molars and that a small piece of acrylic sits in the centre of the wire.
By virtue of necessity, tooth spacers are all custom made devices. Typically, a dentist will take an impression of a patient’s mouth and send the imprint to a laboratory for manufacture.
When to Remove?
Tooth spacers remain in place until the underlying tooth is ready to erupt and occupy the space on its own accord.
Tooth Spacer Care
The ultimate success of using a tooth spacer for missing tooth treatment is contingent, to a degree, on how well the device is cared for. Consequently, it’s worth bearing a few recommendations in mind.
While wearing a tooth spacer for missing tooth, it’s crucial to maintain high standards of oral hygiene. In this regard, satisfactory oral hygiene can be preserved using a mixture of home care and professional cleaning methods. Another issue which may present is that, from time to time, the device itself may need to be adjusted to accommodate developmental changes, such as jaw growth. Moreover, patients should try to avoid eating hard foodstuffs in order to lower the risk of dislodging the tooth spacer.