12.8.2021

Unlocking the Mystery of Band and Loop Space Maintainer

Is your child in his or her losing-baby-teeth-like-crazy stage?! This is a monumental moment for kids! The baby teeth are shedding and the permanent teeth are pushing their way in.

At this age, the teeth and jaw bones are growing in full force and changes are happening quickly! Children around the ages of 6 and 7 typically have a mixed dentition of baby teeth, adult teeth—and a few gaps, of course. (That’s where the band and loop space maintainer comes into play.)

But first, why does the AAO recommend that children receive their first orthodontic exam by the age of 7? We’re glad you asked!

Around this age, when permanent teeth are erupting through the gums, common orthodontic problems become evident and sometimes problematic for some children.

When our experienced orthodontists perform a thorough exam for children around these ages, we’re able to detect problematic orthodontic conditions and intervene if necessary.

If deemed necessary, beginning orthodontic treatment around 7 years old is ideal, as the jaw bones are in their most malleable state. Early orthodontic treatment can minimize treatment lengths and allow for the least intensive treatment approach.

What is a band and loop space maintainer and how does it help child dental development?

Although this age is ideal for beginning orthodontic treatment, it’s also the age when a lot of changes are occurring in the mouth. In some cases, the permanent teeth need a little assistance to help them emerge in a healthy alignment.

Let’s say there’s a missing tooth between two permanent teeth that are already erupting. This middle baby tooth just fell out and the permanent tooth is making its way in to fill the gap.

Sometimes the teeth on either side have a tendency to grow inward, toward the gap, to fill in the space.

In these cases, the band and loop space maintainer appliance serves to maintain that space between the two permanent teeth that have already emerged. This prevents the teeth from growing crooked and migrating toward the gap, which would block the center tooth from emerging and may cause an obstruction.

The band and loop space maintainer consists of a stainless steel band that surrounds a tooth, with a loop that juts outward. This spacer maintains the distance between the teeth to ensure that there’s sufficient space for the not-yet-emerged tooth to grow without crowding or overlapping other teeth.

This type of space maintainer is typically used on the back molars, and can hold a single space per maintainer.

As the new tooth breaks through the gums with enough space to erupt in a healthy alignment, the space maintainer will be removed. This treatment intervenes with poor development, treating the teeth as they’re growing, with the utmost efficiency.

How do I know if my child needs a band and loop space maintainer?

When you bring your child in for their first orthodontic exam, we’ll examine his or her condition and assess the current development to determine whether a space maintainer is needed!

Children who lose baby teeth early or late may require a space maintainer. Every child is different and every smile develops at a different rate! Teeth erupting at different times is completely normal.

Band and loop space maintainers help to create the ideal, healthy alignment in the teeth and treat misalignments or obstructions proactively, instead of reactively.

If your child already lost all of their baby teeth and has permanent teeth that grew crooked, crowded or obstructed, we highly recommend that you schedule their complimentary consultation. We’re here to help you make the best decisions for your child’s smile!

Every child deserves a mouthful of beautiful, healthy teeth that last a lifetime

Still have questions about band and loop space maintainers or early orthodontic treatment?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Northwest Florida, we’d love to meet you! We have 8 convenient locations near you. Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.