One of the jobs of a primary tooth is creating a space for the permanent tooth to come through straight and to fit properly. Having all of the primary teeth in place helps protect the mouth from crowding and future orthodontic problems.
At Smile Explorers, our pediatric dentists make every effort to save a tooth. When a primary tooth cannot be saved due to disease or injury and must be extracted, or if a tooth is knocked out, we may need to insert a space maintainer (spacer) to:
Hold the space for the permanent tooth to come through
Keep an especially tight mouth from shifting
Aid in speech development and chewing properly
The upper front teeth generally don’t need help holding the space. But for most other teeth, unless the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, a stainless steel or plastic spacer will be inserted. We’ll inspect the spacer at each regular check-up, and when your child’s permanent tooth erupts, we’ll remove the spacer. Good oral hygiene is especially important to keep the area around the spacer healthy.