Space Maintenance in La Mirada

What is space maintenance?

If your child has lost a tooth earlier than expected, bring them in to the dentist's office for a consultation. We can determine if a space maintainer is necessary. This is an oral appliance that is made of durable metal and can be removable or fixed in place. 

The space maintainer will wrap around an abutment tooth and hold open the space where the lost tooth used to be so that your other teeth don’t move or lean into the space. This way, when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, it has a space to act as a guide for where it should come through. Without this, the permanent tooth could become trapped behind the gums.


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Space maintainers are made of durable materials such as stainless steel, plastic, or acrylic.

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What to expect at your cosmetic consultation

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At your consultation, your orthodontist will determine if metal braces are right for you. First, your orthodontist will examine your jaw, gums, and teeth to check for gaps, crowding, and misalignment. They will also discuss your smile goals and develop a treatment plan made just for you. 

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Impressions and Digital Imaging

Your orthodontist will then take a series of X-rays of your mouth as well as a mold of your teeth, known as an impression. Your orthodontist may make adjustments to ensure your teeth are properly aligning on the mold. Once this is complete, your orthodontist will use the data gathered from the images and impressions to create your metal braces.

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To secure your metal braces, your orthodontist will dry and prepare your teeth to make the tooth surface ideal for bonding. Next, the braces will be attached to your teeth using a special adhesive and curing light to set the bond. Your orthodontist will then thread the metal wire through the brackets and hold it in place with ligature bands.

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Fitting and Next Steps

Once your braces are securely placed, your orthodontist will check for proper fitting to ensure maximum comfort. You’ll schedule a follow-up appointment with your orthodontist every 4-8 weeks to monitor progress, replace bands, and swap out the metal archwire for a new set. During these checkups, you can select new colors to let your smile shine in style.

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On your last day of treatment, your orthodontist will remove the brackets, clean each tooth, and give you a retainer to help your teeth preserve their new positions. Your orthodontist will also equip you with detailed instructions on how to care for your smile so it can stay strong and straight for life.

Types of braces

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Traditional braces are made of medical-grade stainless steel brackets and archwires that straighten your teeth over time. These popular aligners are oftentimes more affordable than other braces and are best suited for patients experiencing severe tooth and jaw misalignment.


Lingual braces are metal-based appliances that are very similar to their traditional counterparts. The difference? These braces are secured on the back of your teeth, making them virtually invisible. Patients looking for a discreet way to straighten minor misalignments may benefit from lingual braces.


Ceramic braces are very similar to the traditional metal braces, but are composed of a translucent ceramic material that matches the natural color of your teeth. Patients looking for a less noticeable alignment option may enjoy the discreet features of ceramic braces. 

Cosmetic Dental Makeovers

Not sure if any of the above treatments are right for you, or think you may need multiple treatments to restore your smile? Ask your dentist about a cosmetic dental makeover. 

A cosmetic dental makeover is a customized, multi-treatment plan that’s designed to treat and address every issue you may have with your smile. The process is different for each patient, and often involves multiple cosmetic and restorative dental procedures. But the goal for every patient is to have them feeling proud of their smiles after all procedures are complete.

Did you know…

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Over 4 million people in the U.S. wear braces to align their smiles.

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Have questions about space maintenance? Find answers here.

Why Does It Matter If My Child Loses a Deciduous Tooth?

Deciduous teeth are often under-appreciated for the role they place in maintaining good oral health, proper eruption of the teeth, and preventing consequences of tooth loss such as shifting teeth. What’s the big deal if your child loses a baby tooth, right? 

It was going to fall out anyway. Wrong. While it’s true that primary teeth are meant to fall out on their own, when they are lost too soon because of poor oral hygiene that leads to tooth decay or they’re knocked out from an injury, this can leave a gap in your child’s smile until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.

The problem with this is, without a space maintainer, your child will not only have a gap in their smile and difficulty chewing, but their other teeth will also start to shift. Without the necessary tooth to hold everything else in line, your teeth will try to shift in different directions and lean into empty spaces. 

The orthodontic consequences of this can mean teeth that are now crooked, blocking the entrance of the permanent tooth to erupt, and new gaps in the teeth that weren’t there before.

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What are the benefits of Space Maintainers?

Space maintainers offer a variety of benefits. Some benefits include:

  • Painless treatment
  • Minimally invasive placement 
  • Prevention of impacted permanent teeth
  • Prevention of orthodontic problems
  • Reduction of the need for braces

Is a Space Maintainer Always Necessary?

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No, a space maintainer is not always necessary. It depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of tooth, the location in the mouth, the child’s age, and if it was a primary or permanent tooth. 

The front four teeth do not require a space maintainer, nor do teeth that are lost right before the permanent tooth is due to erupt. If the lost tooth is permanent, the tooth may just need to be replaced with an implant, bridge, or partial denture.

Did you know…

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Space maintainers can help prevent oral issues from forming later in your child’s life.

Looking to see if a space maintainer is the right fit for your child? 

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