What is a space maintainer?

Gregory J. Jorgensen, DMD
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

One frequently overlooked role of the primary teeth is that they preserve space for the permanent teeth until they are fully developed and ready to come in. If a baby tooth is lost early, it may be necessary to hold or maintain the remaining space until the permanent one comes in. This may be six months or several years. Your orthodontist can construct a little appliance or device that holds the space open. It is usually made of wire and is glued to one or more of the teeth adjacent to the space where the tooth was lost. Good luck!

A space maintainer is a device to keep a space open where a baby tooth has fallen out too soon. Baby teeth may have been knocked out or lost in some kind of accident, lost from tooth decay, or might have been missing since birth. Space maintainers can preserve the space to help prevent abnormal movement of the other teeth in relation to that space.

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