When baby (primary) teeth are lost before the permanent teeth erupt, the space may need to be filled with a space maintainer (spacer). Not only are primary teeth used for chewing and speech development, but they also guide permanent teeth into the spaces where they belong without shifting, and protect the mouth from crowding and future orthodontic problems. Spacers are removed when the new tooth erupts.
Not every space needs to be filled:
- The four upper front teeth spaces will stay open on their own. However, there is an esthetic solution for this front area with a grouper appliance.
- If a permanent tooth is ready to erupt, your child may not need a spacer.
- But if space is already a problem, a spacer may be necessary.
- Fixed: cemented onto the teeth on either side of the space, especially for a younger child.
- Removable: looks like a retainer, used primarily for cosmetic space filling
Regular brushing and good oral hygiene are especially important when a space maintainer is used. During your child’s regular dental check-ups at Tooth Buds Pediatric Dentistry, we will inspect the spacers and follow the progress of the incoming permanent teeth to determine the proper time to remove the space maintainer.