Each child will have their own unique timeline for the growth and fall of teeth. The official term for the appearance of new teeth is an eruption. These teeth are sometimes called primary teeth or baby teeth. However, baby teeth are, in technical terms, referred to as deciduous teeth. Your child will have 20 of these baby teeth.
Your baby will start growing teeth at six months of age. This will continue until about age 3. Around their teenage years, all baby teeth will have been lost, although this process begins from the age of 6 in most kids. Sometimes, however, some baby teeth don’t fall out. Many people don’t even realize that their baby teeth have been there for years. If you’re one of these people, it might make you wonder if you should worry about adult baby teeth. The average age of a child’s first tooth is 12 years. By normal standards, they are then expected to have thirty-two permanent adult teeth by the time they start to grow into past their adolescent stages.
On certain occasions, over-retained teeth are good for life and can cause no serious medical issues. Excellent oral hygiene is crucial, as dental cavities can be more likely to develop in primary teeth than permanent teeth. Then again, it should be said that primary teeth are not made to last for a lifetime, and as such, their enamel coating is weaker, making them more vulnerable to dental treatment for tooth decay. Over-retention of primary teeth can contribute to a couple of dental conditions and may leave lasting consequences on your teeth.
Reasons Why Baby Teeth may be Retained
There is a myriad of reasons why you may have baby teeth that don’t fall out, which could range from lack of proper dental or oral hygiene to certain health conditions or other cases where you have extra teeth that prevent the baby teeth from being erupting and the adult teeth coming out to form. Some of these reasons are discussed thus:
Absence of Adult teeth (Tooth Agenesis)
The main reason that baby teeth are retained too long is that there isn’t an adult tooth available. The adult tooth helps the baby tooth to fall out by destroying its roots when it starts to form. If this is not done, baby teeth could last into adulthood. This is medically known as tooth agenesis.
Bad oral hygiene can cause infection in adult teeth that haven’t yet erupted. In some cases, this permanent adult tooth damage may lead to the need for permanent teeth to be resorbed to the jaw when the infection has cleared.
Some people are more inclined to retain their baby tooth for hereditary or genetic reasons as it may have been passed on to them. It isn’t clear why but it seems that people with retained baby teeth are more likely than others to have children who retain their own baby teeth late into adulthood as well.
How can this Over-Retention of Baby Teeth be Treated?
A primary tooth that is not fusing to the bone can be extracted. The space maintainer is inserted in the unoccupied area until the underlying tooth or a permanent tooth emerges. If no permanent tooth is present, a dental implant can be made. Extraction is also possible if a misaligned retained primary tooth needs to be removed. Space closure with braces can be used to close spaces and remove crowding if necessary.
Orthodontics & Surgery
Modification may be necessary in order to prevent issues, and most times, it doesn’t matter whether or not the crown and root are in excellent condition. The easiest modification is to attach a molded crown to the top. This gives the tooth an adult appearance while still retaining its base.