Losing baby teeth and having them replaced by adult teeth is part of the progression to adulthood we expect – but this is not the case for everyone.
Retained baby teeth usually fail to fall out because there was no tooth in place behind it to push it through.
Most children will have lost all of their baby teeth by the age of 12, but some people will see one or two baby teeth remain in place into adulthood, in some cases the number is even higher.
What causes retained baby teeth?
The cause of retained baby teeth is often hypodontia where there is no tooth growing behind to push it out.
Another cause of retained baby teeth is when it has become fused to the bone restricting movement.
Other reasons can include the adult tooth growing at an angle that obstructs, rather than aids, movement, as well as an infection or an impact that has damaged the tooth.
Do retained baby teeth need to be removed?
It is not always the case that retained baby teeth need to be taken out. If there is an adult tooth behind it, the tooth will generally be taken out to allow that one to erupt.
However, if there is no tooth in place the retained tooth could be left in the mouth if is not causing any problems in regard to eating, dental structure or maintaining hygiene.
Obviously teeth play an important part in appearance; if baby teeth are seen to be a problem aesthetically then a patient may choose to have them removed.
Treatment for retained baby teeth
Due to the impact they have on the formation of permanent teeth retained baby teeth can have a major impact on the development of teeth, often causing large gaps and misalignment.
This can cause long-term problems if left untreated including decay. Treatment for retained baby teeth is dependent on the cause of the problem to an extent.
If bone fusion is responsible for retained baby teeth where there is a tooth growing behind, it is likely that the tooth will be removed.
If there is no tooth in place the retained baby tooth can be left in place if it allows correct function and looks acceptable. Treatment can also be carried out to build the tooth up to make it align with the adult teeth.
Where teeth are failing to erupt and push the tooth out dentists will use a range of treatments to encourage growth, taking each case on its merits.
It is important to maintain regular dental appointments so that any problems with the development of adult teeth are picked up as early as possible.
If you are concerned about retained baby teeth or any other dental problems please contact Bhandal Dental Surgery.
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