Kitsap Kid's Dentistry

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What are dental space maintainers and why might my child need one? That’s a great question! Your child’s primary teeth (baby teeth) play an important role in their dental health. Not only do they save space for the permanent teeth, but they also help guide permanent teeth into position and encourage normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.

A baby tooth usually stays in place until the permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, the adjacent teeth are more likely to tilt or drift into the empty space and create limited space in the jaw for the permanent tooth to erupt. If left untreated, the permanent tooth can come in crowded or may be blocked from erupting.

A space maintainer works by keeping open the empty space left by the lost tooth. A space maintainer is usually made of metal and is a temporary, custom-fit appliance. A space maintainer steadies the remaining teeth and prevents movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw.