Pediatric Orthodontic Care in Omaha, NE
At Pedodontics, P.C., our mission is to help patients throughout the greater Omaha, NE area develop beautiful, healthy smiles through quality orthodontic treatment. We focus on crafting beautiful smiles over the long-term, designing treatment plans to create a straight smile and greater facial symmetry. While orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign are critical to achieving this goal, we often need to take action during childhood to set the stage for a great smile by using special orthodontic appliances called space maintainers.
Why Are Orthodontic Space Maintainers Important?
Children usually have their front teeth erupt first, and crowding is often most notable in these front teeth. This is largely because physiologically, the permanent front teeth and incisors are larger than the primary teeth they replace. For some children, the growth of the jaw compensates and provides enough space for the permanent teeth – but if growth isn’t sufficient to cover the difference, it can cause crowding and crooked teeth.
In the past, dentists would extract teeth to correct this crowding. But thanks to a breakthrough technique, this is almost rarely necessary nowadays. In modern orthodontic treatment, orthodontists work to preserve “leeway” space for the front teeth. This is possible because while the permanent from teeth are larger than baby front teeth, the permanent molars are actually smaller than the primary molars. By using an appliance to hold the permanent molars farther back in place in the mouth, we can leave sufficient room for the permanent front teeth to erupt and grow in with a proper alignment, eliminating the need for extraction!
Types of Space Maintainers
There are two primary orthodontic appliances used for the purpose of maintaining space in the mouth: one for the lower teeth, and one for the upper teeth.
Lower Lingual Holding Arch (LLHA)
A lower lingual holding arch attaches to the lower rear molars with metal bands fixed to the teeth with dental cement. These bands have a small metal wire that extends to the front of the mouth and rests on the back of the front teeth, preventing the molars from moving forward and leaving sufficient space open for the permanent front teeth.
A Nance appliance, or upper holding arch, is very similar to a lower lingual holding arch. Nance appliances use a thin metal wire attached to the rear molars with metal brands and dental cement. The wire extends along the inside of the upper teeth, but it rests against a piece of molded acrylic that rests on the hard palate (roof) of the mouth. This acrylic provides resistance that prevents the molars from moving forward, preserving enough space for the upper front teeth to grow in straight.
Contact Your Omaha, NE Kids’ Orthodontist
Space maintainers are often a crucial part of the orthodontic treatment process, helping us craft a straight smile and minimize the amount of orthodontic treatment needed. If you have questions about space maintainers or thing your child may benefit from one, we would love to help. Feel free to call us at 402-330-5913 with any questions or reach out to us at our contact page to schedule a consultation. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping your child achieve a great smile!