Space Maintainers For Premature Tooth Loss

Young Dentistry for Children - Colorado Pediatric Dentist -


What Are Space Maintainers?

If a child loses a baby tooth earlier than expected, or if their adult tooth is late in erupting, space maintainers may be used to hold the place for the incoming tooth or teeth. Space maintainers are orthodontic appliances that help guide adult teeth into their proper position. Space maintainers are custom-made for each child and are usually cemented into place until the new tooth erupts.

Space maintainers are fabricated by custom-fitting orthodontic bands onto the support teeth. Some spacers can be made on the spot, in one appointment. For other types of spacers, an impression of the mouth is obtained using a material, called alginate, placed in a tray that resembles a mouthguard. The bands are removed from the teeth and a stone model of the child’s mouth is made. The space maintainer is fabricated to the unique anatomy of the child and tried in and adjusted, as needed. When a good fit is confirmed, the appliance is cemented onto the support teeth with the orthodontic bands that were originally fit to the teeth. After any space maintainer placement, instructions for meticulous hygiene and avoidance of sticky candy will be given and follow-up will be needed, to ensure the appliance functions properly.  


Types of Appliances

A few of the most common types of space maintainer appliances are called band-and-loops, the lingual holding arch, and the Nance appliance. The particular missing tooth or teeth and the child’s stage of dental development dictate which appliance is used. Space maintainers can be fitted to either the upper or lower jaw and can be made for one or both sides of the mouth.


Does Your Child Need A Space Maintainer?

Whenever a child loses a tooth before it was loose, or if they lost it normally but the adult tooth is taking a long time to come in, it’s a good idea to bring them to see our doctors so that they can determine whether a space maintainer is necessary and what type to use. If you have any questions about space maintainers or think your child might need one, give us a call at (303) 280-9036 or send us an email at


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