People often don’t realize the importance of baby teeth. Baby teeth aren’t just for chewing. Each one also acts as a guide for the eruption of the permanent tooth that replaces it.
If a baby tooth is lost too early because of decay or an accident, the teeth beside it may tilt or drift into the empty space. Teeth in the other jaw may move up or down to fill the gap. When adjacent teeth shift into the empty space, they create a lack of space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. So, permanent teeth are crowded and come in crooked. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive orthodontic treatment.
Space maintainers help to maintain the space previously occupied by the missing tooth and works to avoid further space loss. When your child reaches the appropriate age, the spacer will be removed so that the permanent teeth can erupt properly into the mouth. (Remember: Some baby teeth are not replaced until a child is 12 or 14 years old.)