If you pay attention to the way your child's permanent teeth emerge and force out the baby teeth, then you will see that the adult teeth follow a specific pattern as they come in. The teeth will force their way through the gums in the same order that the baby teeth came in. The lower teeth will fall out first, and the same upper teeth will follow. Typically, the front teeth or the incisors will fall out first. However, there are sometimes issues with the way the adult teeth emerge and you may see one or several baby teeth that remain in the gums. If the tooth remains for a long time, then the issue is called an over-retained baby tooth. To understand the issue and how it may be resolved, keep reading.
Why Does A Baby Tooth Stay In The Mouth?
An over-retained baby tooth or a milk tooth that remains in the mouth for too long is an issue that plagues some children. The issue can occur for a variety of reasons. Under normal circumstances, the adult teeth solidify deep in the jaw and start to move up into the mouth once they are fully formed. As an adult tooth moves closer to the tooth, the root of the baby tooth starts to wear away during a process called reabsorption. The minerals within the root are absorbed by the body as the tooth breaks down and the root disappears. However, if there is no adult tooth in the jaw underneath the baby tooth, then the baby tooth root will remain intact. It will then stay securely in the jaw without loosening.
If your child has a relatively large mouth or if the adult teeth are forced out and away from the rest of the teeth, like if your child sucks his thumb, then the baby teeth and the adult teeth will not be aligned with one another. In this case, the adult tooth will force its way into the mouth in front, behind, or to the side of the baby tooth. No pressure will be placed on the milk tooth and it will remain in the mouth next to the corresponding adult tooth. For example, you may see that your child has a baby bicuspid with the adult bicuspid sitting just to the right of it.
Your child may also have a condition called dental ankylosis. Dental ankylosis occurs when a tooth attaches to the jaw bone. This solidifies the position of the tooth and keeps it from moving. The baby tooth root may attach to the jaw bone, and this will keep the root from reabsorbing into the body. The adult tooth underneath will be unable to force its way into the mouth. This is especially likely if the teeth on the right and left side of the baby tooth have already emerged. Sometimes the adult tooth is the one that is bonded to the bone and unable to move.
How Is An Over-Retained Condition Resolved?
Before your child's over-retained tooth can be repaired, images will need to be taken to determine the reason or underlying cause of the issue. X-ray images will allow the dentist to inspect the tooth. If there is no adult tooth in the mouth underneath the baby tooth, then the milk tooth may be retained. Most baby teeth are quite a bit smaller than adult teeth though, and a crown may be created to reshape and resize the tooth. If your child's mouth is overcrowded and orthodontic work is needed, then the over-retained tooth may be removed with the corresponding adult tooth on the other side of the mouth. For example, the bicuspids are sometimes removed to create space in the mouth. If your child happens to have an over-retained upper bicuspid, then this tooth will be removed along with the other adult upper bicuspid and the two lower bicuspids. This type of removal helps to retain symmetry in the mouth.
If your child has a tooth that has attached itself to the jaw, then surgical intervention may be required. Baby teeth will often be surgically removed. If an adult tooth is attached to the jaw, then it will be released from the bone. Your child's dentist will then keep a close eye on the adult tooth to see if it emerges. If it does not, then the adult tooth will likely need to be surgically removed as well. For more information, make an appointment with a clinic like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.