A major function of baby teeth is to hold space for the adult teeth that will eventually push them out. Sometimes, however, an injury or a cavity can cause a baby tooth to be lost prematurely. When this happens, the permanent teeth that are coming in on either side can actually drift into the space that was reserved for another tooth. This can cause teeth to erupt out of position or to be blocked entirely, and may result in crowded or crooked teeth.
Fortunately, if your child loses a baby tooth prematurely, there is a dental appliance that can be used to hold the space open for the permanent tooth that is meant to fill it. This device is called a space maintainer or a space maintenance appliance, and is used to help your child develop the best bite possible. A child will wear a space maintainer until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt naturally. The space maintainer can then be removed in our office.