Baby teeth have a very important role. In addition to providing daily function, they save the space for the permanent teeth and serve as a guide for proper eruption. When a tooth is lost prematurely, the surrounding baby teeth will begin to shift and can close the space. This could prevent permanent teeth from erupting, leading to more complicated orthodontic needs. If a tooth is lost early, a small, custom-made appliance called a space maintainer can be put in its place. The spacer remains seated until the adult tooth is near eruption and then is removed.

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