What is a removable dental space maintainer?

A removable space maintainer is a device used to keep a space open where a baby tooth has fallen out before the permanent tooth is ready to come in. Removable space maintainers look like retainers. Removable space maintainers often are used in older children who can remember to take the appliance out, care for it, and put it back in. Some space maintainers are fixed, meaning they are cemented onto the teeth.
Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
A removable dental space maintainer is an appliance (like a retainer) that your dentist might recommend after the early loss of a baby tooth. Baby teeth might be lost early in the event of tooth removal following tooth decay, crowding, improper eruption of a permanent tooth, or trauma.

When baby teeth are lost early, the space for the replacement permanent tooth can be loss due to shifting, crowding, or bite changes. A removable space maintainer prevents loss of space by maintaining adequate room for the eruption of the permanent tooth in the area of the lost baby tooth. This is a preventive appliance, not an active tooth-moving appliance. Space maintainers will help prevent future problems, but typically do not correct any current problems with tooth alignment.

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