Space maintainers are appliances that are cemented around the teeth in order to maintain space for erupting permanent teeth. As we discuss on our extractions page, sometimes a primary tooth needs to come out before the underlying permanent tooth is ready to erupt.
In these situations, if the primary tooth is missing and the space is left empty, other teeth can shift and thereby shrink the space that is available for the permanent tooth to erupt.
How is a Space Maintainer Made?
In order to fabricate a space maintainer, we place an orthodontic-like band on the first molar, and we take an impression (a mold) of the teeth in the area. The impression is sent to the dental laboratory where the custom space maintainer is fabricated. We then see the patient in the office and cement the space maintainer. As the permanent tooth comes into the maintained space, the space maintainer will no longer be needed and will be removed by the dentist.