Space Maintenance

If your child’s tooth has come out too soon because of decay, it is important to maintain the space to prevent future space loss and dental problems when permanent teeth begin to come in. Without the use of a space maintainer, the teeth that surround the open space can shift, impeding the permanent tooth’s eruption. When that happens, the need for orthodontic treatment may become greater.


A band-and-loop maintainer is made of stainless steel wire and held in place by a band on the tooth adjacent to the empty space. The wire is attached to the loop and rests against the side of the tooth on the other end of the space.
A lingual arch is used on the lower teeth when the back teeth on both sides of the jaw are lost. A wire is placed on the lingual (tongue) side of the arch and is attached to the tooth in front of the open space on both sides. This prevents the teeth from shifting into the space where the teeth were extracted.


There are four general rules for taking care of your child’s space maintainer.

  • Your child should avoid sticky candy
  • Encourage your child not to push or tug on the space maintainer with the fingers or tongue.
  • Keep your child’s space maintainer clean through effective brushing and flossing.
  • Your child should continue to see Dr. Katie for regular dental visits.