Primary teeth are the predecessors of permanent teeth. They retain the space for the permanent teeth until their formation and eruption. If for some reason the primary teeth are lost at an early age, then the space for the permanent teeth is closed due to tilting of adjacent teeth towards the empty space. The permanent tooth either gets trapped in the bone or erupts in an abnormal position leading to malalignment and crowding of teeth. In order to prevent this your pediatric dentist will advice a space maintainer to be placed.
A space maintainer is a customized appliance made with metal or acrylic(plastic) material which are either removable or fixed in the child's mouth to maintain the space for the permanent tooth to erupt and come into the right place. Once the permanent tooth starts to erupt your dentist will remove it.
Authored By : Dr. S. Hemamalathi and Dr. K. S Senthil Kumar