When A Baby Tooth Is Lost Too Early

September 12th, 2019

Children’s primary teeth usually start to appear in the first year and have two purposes. Learning to chew, eat and speak is one obvious function but they also act as space holders for the permanent teeth forming beneath the gums. 

Under normal circumstances primary teeth will fall out naturally by around the age of six as the permanent teeth move up to take their place. However, if a primary tooth is lost prematurely the space allotted to the growing permanent tooth can be affected as the surrounding teeth shift position to occupy the empty space. 


This can result in the new permanent teeth being:

  • Crowded
  • Misaligned
  • Crooked

To remedy this situation a dentist may insert a dental space maintainer which is custom fit for each individual child and can be removable or fixed in place. Space maintainers can be either metal or acrylic and in the form of a loop or band. In some cases, the dentist may opt for a temporary crown which is attached to the tooth on one side of the empty space. 

A space maintainer is only required until the permanent tooth starts to push through when “the dentist will remove the device” in a simple and painless procedure. Read more about dental space retainers at https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/early-orthodontics/ada-12-space-maintainers-can-help-permanent-teeth-grow-in-straight