What is a space maintainer?
Unfortunately, at times a tooth may be lost early due to cavities or from an injury. One of the main functions of a baby tooth is to hold a space for the permanent tooth to erupt. If a tooth is lost early, we still need to find a way to keep this space open, otherwise, space will close up and the permanent tooth will come in crooked or unable to erupt at all. That’s where a space maintainer becomes handy to help guide the permanent tooth into its spot.
We will monitor your child every 6 months checkup to see if the space maintainer is ready to be removed. During the exam, we will be able to evaluate when the adult tooth will come in for the appropriate time to remove the space maintainer. A tell-tell sign that a space maintainer needs to come out, is if the new permanent tooth growing in is touching the metal bar of the space maintainer. Keep in mind most kids lose all of their baby teeth by age 12.