Spacers for Teeth
In Dentistry, there are a number of things that you may come across, and these may terms that describe a dental condition, dental equipment, a dental technique or procedure and so forth. All the dental jargon can be a little confusing to layman, but a simple question to your dentist should help enlighten you sufficiently. When something seems unclear, you can ask you dentist or you can make a search on the web to find out more about it. The term “spacers for teeth” is loosely utilized in Dentistry. In fact, one can easily be confused what “spacers for teeth” actually mean because there are a number of appliances and tools that may be classified under the same term, and this article should help differentiate each one of them:
- Space Maintainer: A space maintainer may be a fixed or a removable appliance that is fitted into a space after a tooth or a few teeth have been lost within the jaw. Ideally, the exfoliation and eruption of the baby teeth and the permanent teeth are timed to coincide with each other, but when situations call for the premature loss of a baby tooth, space is sufficiently maintained by an appliance so that drifting or shifting is prevented.
- Space Regainer: While a space maintainer merely holds the space created from the premature loss of the tooth or teeth, the space regainer appliance works to create or regain space that was lost. When a tooth or a few teeth are lost, migration follows, and space may be lost and cause crowding. This space may be regained by fitting a fixed or a removable appliance that will recreate some space.
- Rubber Separators: Rubber separators or “spacers” are small thick rubbers that are inserted in between teeth before the molar bands are inserted for orthodontic treatment or braces. The bands are used in lieu of molar/buccal tubes to offer more retentive molar manipulation. They are made of hard metal which cannot be inserted in between the teeth, unless the rubber separators are placed there to create some gap a few days before installation and cementation.
- Expansion Appliance: This is an appliance that may be placed on the upper or lower arch to enlarge an initially narrow arch. When an arch is much too narrow, crowding can be observed. While this may be resolved by orthodontic treatment, widening the arch with an appropriate spacer will be more effective. This appliance is fitted with an adjustment key to accommodate the enlargement; the patient will be instructed to turn the key once every week, so that it can push the arch to enlarge it.
- Strippers: A stripper is more of a file that is used to minimally scrape tooth surface off, to create “space” that may be utilized in orthodontic treatment. Ordinarily, when space is needed a tooth is removed to regain some space, but when very little space is needed and a tooth extraction is deemed overkill, these strippers may be used as appropriate spacers instead.
- Open Coil Spring: Another useful spacer is the open coil spring. This spring is coiled appropriately and inserter along with the wires when they are installed into the brackets. By putting the open coil springs, the teeth are pushed apart from each other and much needed space is created. An opposite action coil spring is also available — a close coil spring may be inserted in between the teeth when they are needed to be closed.
While these things mentioned above are not exactly termed as “spacers”, their functions aptly puts them under the same classification. They are widely utilized in Dentistry for teens and adults and are being used by dentists appropriately for various functions.