When a baby tooth cannot be saved with available treatments, it often needs to be removed to prevent an infection. However, it is important to preserve the space left behind. An open space can cause shifting of the remaining teeth and future crowding with the adult teeth. To help prevent this shifting, a space maintainer may be recommended to preserve the space until the adult tooth comes into place.
A space maintainer usually takes three appointments:
- We take an impression of the area and send the image to a dental lab in order to fabricate the space maintainer. The most common space maintainer consists of a metal band and loop.
- The space maintainer is cemented on to the tooth closest to the one that was lost.
- The space maintainer is removed once the adult tooth starts to come in.
It is very important to follow up after a space maintainer is placed with regular checkups every six months. If a space maintainer is left on too long it can affect the way the adult teeth come in.