A space maintainer is used to keep the space needed for a permanent tooth when a baby tooth (usually a molar) is lost early due to decay or injury. Once a primary tooth is lost, the teeth around it can begin to drift into the open space. If a space maintainer is not placed, the newly erupting permanent tooth could erupt in the wrong place leading to increased orthodontic treatment, periodontal problems or increased risk of cavities.
It is important to keep the appliance clean and to avoid sticky foods such as gum, taffy or gummy bears. If the space maintainer comes off prematurely, save it and call us for an appointment. Make sure to bring the spacer with you. Most insurance companies do not pay for a replacement. When the permanent tooth starts to erupt, bring your child in for an evaluation and we can determine if it’s time for the spacer to be removed.