Premature Tooth Loss Can Be Effectively Addressed with Space Maintainers


Photo of parents brushing their teeth with a young childLosing a baby tooth too early can cause your child to develop issues with their permanent teeth. To prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of place and ensure permanent teeth erupt in proper position, Children's Dental at Waltham can design and place a custom-fit, fixed space maintainer at our Waltham, MA, office. Made from stainless steel, this appliance can help your child experience healthy and normal tooth development, and a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Consequences of Early Tooth Loss

Primary (baby) teeth serve as a guide to secondary (permanent) teeth and the development of your child’s jaw bone and muscles. When a baby tooth is lost prematurely, it can cause the permanent tooth to develop at an improper angle or position. In some cases, early loss of baby teeth can prevent the adult tooth from breaking through the gum due to shifts in remaining adjacent teeth.

Premature tooth loss can occur for any number of reasons, including severe tooth decay, trauma or injury, disease or serious health conditions, and birth defects. If your child has lost a baby tooth prematurely, it is important to seek treatment to help prevent future oral health concerns.

Protecting Oral Health after Early Tooth Loss

Space maintainers fill the gap left by baby teeth that have been lost or did not develop. With a customized appliance, our doctors can leave an appropriate amount of space open until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Typically, once the adult tooth begins to break through the gums, the maintainer is no longer needed.

Fixed Solutions

For younger patients, there are a variety of fixed space maintainers. These appliances are typically made from stainless steel and can be permanently affixed to adjacent teeth. Fixed space maintainers come in various forms, including:

  • Unilateral: With this appliance, a small metal loop sits inside the open space and is held in place by a band that wraps around an adjacent tooth.
  • Lingual Arch: A lingual space maintainer is very similar to a traditional retainer used after orthodontics. This device is made of a metal wire that rests along the inside of the teeth, holding them in place. The wire is supported by two loops that wrap around the back molars.

Our team will work with you to decide on the best space maintainer to help protect your child's oral health.

If your child has unexpectedly lost a baby tooth prematurely, we offer a variety of space maintainers that can protect their long-term oral health.

Caring for Your Space Maintainer

The length of time your child will need a maintainer will depend on their age and type of tooth loss. Because space maintainers may be necessary for several years, it is important to follow a healthy oral hygiene to keep teeth strong and the area around the space maintainer free from bacteria. To protect your child’s oral health and prevent damage to the space maintainer, be sure that your child:

  • Brushes their teeth as well as the gums around the space maintainer
  • Cleans their appliance thoroughly every day
  • Does not chew hard candies, sticky foods, and ice 
  • Avoids using their tongue or fingers to play with the appliance
  • Visits our office for routine cleanings, checkups, and x-rays

Our team will carefully monitor your child's oral development to ensure that their space maintainer is properly functioning and provides the best possible results.

Contact Us Today

If your child has unexpectedly lost a baby tooth prematurely, we offer a variety of space maintainers that can protect their long-term oral health. Contact our office today via email, or by calling (781) 899-7070 to schedule a consultation.