A primary tooth is sometimes lost prematurely because of injury or tooth decay. If that happens before the permanent tooth is fully developed and ready to emerge; the nearby teeth can shift or “tip” into the space formerly occupied by the primary tooth. When the permanent tooth tries to grow into the spot, there may not be enough room. The new teeth may be unerupt or emerge lopsided, leading to crooked teeth.
A space maintainer holds the space left by a primary tooth until the permanent teeth is ready to emerge. Generally it is the device that is permanently cemented in the mouth. The paediatric dentist will later remove the spacer once the permanent tooth is in its proper position.
Different types of space maintainers are used for children are:
1. Band and loop space maintainers
2. Lingual arch space maintainers for lower teeth
3. Nance arch holding appliance etc.,
The type of space maintainers for that particular tooth or teeth is at the discretion of the pediatric dentist to decide.