If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may drift or tilt into the empty space. Teeth in the other jaw may move up or down to also fill the gap. When adjacent teeth shift into the empty space, there is no room for the future permanent tooth to erupt into. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive orthodontic treatment. Some baby teeth are not replaced with adult teeth until the child is 12-14 years old.
Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth and prevent movement until the permanent tooth takes its position in the jaw. It is more affordable – and easier on your child – to keep the normal positions with a space maintainer than to later move them back in place by orthodontic treatment.
What special care do space maintainers need?
– Avoid sticky candy,
– Do not tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue,
– Keep it clean with conscientious brushing, and
– Continue regular dental visits.