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two patients Extractions & Space Maintainers

Extractions & Space Maintainers

Space Maintainer

Simply put: space maintainers hold space inside the mouth to allow for uncomplicated or uninhibited eruption of permanent teeth.

A child’s baby teeth are natural space maintainers; however, there are situations in which assistance may be needed to create or maintain space inside the mouth:

  • Overcrowding inside the mouth. Baby molars are smaller than the permanent molars that will replace them. If there are indications that a child’s teeth may become overcrowded as permanent teeth erupt, we will insert a space maintainer for orthodontic purposes. This will prevent the drifting of the permanent molars, which will decrease overcrowding in the long-term.
  • Children can lose baby teeth prematurely for various reasons, an example of which would be an extraction. When a child loses a tooth that will not be immediately replaced by a permanent tooth, we’ll insert a space maintainer to hold the space until the permanent tooth erupts. Doing this ensures the surrounding teeth stay put and don’t shift into voided area.


There are two main reasons that a child may need a tooth extraction: stubborn baby teeth and infection.

Sometimes the tooth fairy asks us to intervene by extracting a baby tooth in an effort to make way for permanent teeth. Common situations in which we would recommend an extraction include:

  • Baby teeth that haven’t fallen out in a timely manner to make way for permanent teeth
  • Overcrowding in the mouth that would cause permanent teeth to emerge crooked or pointed in the wrong direction

An extraction may also be necessary when a child has an infection in the tooth, but is not at the right age for a filling, crown, or nerve treatment. Particularly when the infected tooth is a baby tooth, it may make more sense to simply remove the tooth to make way for the permanent tooth.

While extractions are an intimidating idea for most children, you can be assured that our dentists and hygienists will be mindful of your child’s needs at every step. We’ll make sure your child understands the process of the procedure, and we’ll only proceed when his or she is comfortable.