Interceptive Orthodontics in ABQ

Interceptive orthodontics decorative image

ABQ Pediatric Dentistry provides interceptive orthodontics for children in Albuquerque, NM. Call 505-888-3520 to learn more and schedule your appointment.

Space Maintenance

Space maintainers are commonly used when a baby (primary) tooth is lost early and the adult permanent tooth is not ready to erupt. Baby teeth are important for many reasons and one is to hold the space available for incoming permanent teeth. When a baby tooth falls out early due to illnesses, accidents, decay or pathology, the other neighboring teeth might shift and cause the permanent tooth from erupting with adequate space. In order to allow permanent teeth to emerge naturally and comfortably, Dr. Tasker may recommend a space maintainer and/or refer your child to an orthodontist (a dentist who specializes in braces).

Habit Appliance

A habit appliance is useful for some patients to help stop thumb or finger sucking and/or to help re-train an improper tongue position or swallowing pattern. Dr. Tasker may recommend a habit appliance to minimize the consequences that the habit of tongue posture can have on your child's teeth positioning and arch shape and/or refer your child to an orthodontist (a dentist who specializes in braces).

Frequently Asked Questions About Interceptive Orthodontics

What is the purpose of interceptive orthodontic treatment?

The goal of interceptive orthodontic treatment is to prevent orthodontic issues from occurring, rather than waiting for them to occur and then providing treatment. This proactive approach yields improved results and often reduces the amount of time needed in braces when children reach adolescence.

What is a tongue thrust appliance?

Tongue thrust appliance is another name for a habit appliance because in addition to helping children break thumb and finger sucking habits, these appliances also retrain tongue positioning to eliminate tongue thrust.

How long do space maintainers stay in?

Space maintainers are needed until your child’s permanent tooth begins to erupt. If space maintainers are removed too early, neighboring teeth can begin to drift into the open space, causing crowding.

Does a space maintainer hurt?

No, space maintainers do not hurt. Unlike many other orthodontic appliances, they don’t push, pull, or place any pressure on the teeth—they simply hold an existing space open. If your child’s space maintainer is causing them pain, something is wrong with it. Call our office right away.

Are space maintainers braces?

No, space maintainers aren’t the same as braces. Braces involve a system of brackets and wires that are used to push and pull the teeth into new positions. Space maintainers simply reserve room for a permanent tooth to erupt.

Are there food restrictions with habit appliances and space maintainers?

Yes, when your child has a habit appliance or space maintainer, they will need to avoid sticky foods and gum. These can get stuck on interceptive orthodontic appliances, causing damage and leaving teeth vulnerable to cavities.

Does my child need a space maintainer?

The answer to this question depends on how early their primary tooth was lost. If your child lost their tooth years before we expect their adult tooth to erupt, a space maintainer will be needed. If, on the other hand, we anticipate that the adult tooth will begin to erupt soon based on the eruption pattern of previous teeth, space maintenance may not be needed.

Are space maintainers really necessary?

Space maintainers are important if you want to prevent crowding, impacted teeth, and other orthodontic issues. When a tooth is lost early, neighboring teeth usually drift into the gap left behind unless a space maintainer is used. Your child will likely need a longer treatment time in braces when they are older if we don’t use a space maintainer and preventing orthodontic issues from occurring is simpler, more effective, and less costly.

Call 505-888-3520 to schedule your appointment.