Baby teeth usually stay in place until "pushed out" by a permanent tooth that takes it's place. Unfortunately, some children lose baby teeth too early. This can cause problems so it becomes necessary to use a space maintainer. A space maintainer is a device that saves room in the mouth for the adult teeth when the baby teeth come out too early. Ideally, baby teeth should be preserved until the adult teeth push them out naturally. Baby teeth are important for a child to eat comfortably and also to save space for the adult teeth. When they must be removed due to cavities or injury, a space maintainer becomes necessary.
Space maintainers can be either permanent or removable. Space maintainers are an appliance made of plastic or metal custom fit to your child's mouth to maintain the space intended for the permanent tooth when it decides to come in. They do this by "holding open" the empty space left by a lost tooth by preventing movement in the remaining teeth until the permanent tooth takes it's natural position in the child's mouth. This treatment is much more affordable and much easier on your child than to move them back later with orthodontic procedures.