Tools of the trade: Space Maintainer Model

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educational model

by Dr Deb Wong, Dr Deb Wong and Associates – Specialist Paediatric Dentists, Maribyrnong, VIC

As a specialist paediatric dentist, I see lots of children and families. When I need to extract posterior primary teeth, I use this model during the consultation with the parents. It allows me to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of placing a band and loop space maintainer.

What’s good about it

The model helps parents to visualise what the space maintainer will look like in their child’s mouth. Parents often have concerns about the aesthetics of the device and the model demonstrates the colour of the appliance, the size, how it sits in the dental arch and how much space it occupies in the mouth. The parents can quickly understand and judge whether their child will be able to tolerate the appliance once it’s cemented into the mouth. 

I explain that the space maintainer needs to fit tightly on the back tooth and their child may feel a bit of pressure when an impression is taken and the band is cemented. I also explain why it’s important to keep an eye on the space maintainer and why monitoring it is paramount. I can point to the model and show the parent that we need to review the adult tooth as it erupts and to plan the best time to remove the space maintainer.

The model forms a part of the informed consent process when I consult with parents. 

What’s not so good

The model may be tricky to acquire as a bit of DIY is involved. You can purchase a chairside space maintainer, then mount it on some plaster to turn it into a demonstration model. Alternatively, you can get a customised model made by your local dental lab after taking an impression of a paediatric patient. 

Where did you get it

The chairside space maintainer made by Denovo can be purchased from The Paediatric Dental Company

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