If you’ve had braces, you probably know what a dental spacer is. And either love or hate it. Spacers for braces, after all, are there to “space out” your teeth for alignment and to place other types of orthodontic treatment appliances. As with any late-term dental treatment, orthodontic separators—another name for dental spacers—can take a lot of getting used to.
But a dental spacer can refer to other things. In terms of cosmetic dentistry, a “removable spacer” can refer to a removable bridge, which is used to replace a missing tooth. Dental spacers for adults, in particular, might use this definition.
If you’re part of the majority, chances are you wouldn’t want to lose your teeth. And the reasons can vary. But whether your intentions are aesthetic or functional, dentists also agree that saving your teeth should always be a priority. If a tooth extraction is inevitable, however, you need to bridge the gap as soon as possible. Aside from looking a little unsightly, a missing tooth can make it difficult to do routine activities, like eating and speaking.
Dentists usually recommend dental implants in this situation and for a good reason. For instance, because of their close resemblance to natural teeth, and due to their stability.
Dental implants mimic your natural teeth the closest out of all the dental restorations. But some patients might be wary of their use in the long term, particularly on the teeth and gums. Some might opt for something less invasive, such as a dental bridge. But even this type of treatment has its caveats—your dentist might have to shave off your adjacent teeth to fit the holding crowns.
So, are removable spacers—or dental spacers for adults—a better option for you? Let’s find out.
Dental Spacers Go by Other Names
Removable spacers, partial dentures, flippers—there are a lot of titles a dental spacer can go by. And much like holistic dentistry, each name can give us insight into what these spacer devices actually are.
- Dental spacers. Remember dental space maintainers? They’re what dentists usually put on children who’ve lost their baby teeth earlier than expected. These maintainers then “maintain” the space left by the baby tooth so that the permanent tooth can grow properly. Dental spacers for adults somewhat work in the same way. While there isn’t a permanent tooth to wait for, spacers do keep and protect space left by a tooth.
- Removable spacers. Unlike spacers for braces, you can remove this type of dental spacer whenever you need to. You can take them out right before you eat and brush your teeth to ensure a proper clean.
- Partial dentures. When we talk about dentures, you’d usually think about the full affair that covers your whole set of teeth. Dental spacers for adults, then, act like a denture but only for certain areas of the teeth.
- Flipper. Flippers are usually made of lightweight acrylic material. And since they typically only cover one or two teeth, this temporary restoration isn’t as encroaching.
A Less Invasive, More Convenient Way to Bridge the Gap
Removable spacers join a slew of less invasive options to replace a lost tooth. Of course, it does have its own disadvantages. Because of its lightweight nature, you can drop it quickly.
Nonetheless, dental spacers for adults are an excellent option for those looking for something easy to clean and use.