Managing Retained Baby Teeth with Your Charlotte Pediatric Dentist

baby-teethThere are few moments in life that are as exciting as the day that your child loses her first tooth. After the initial novelty of the tooth loss subsides, it will seem as though your little one is losing more teeth than she is growing! You’ll wonder how she manages to eat anything, and for a while, the tooth fairy will stay very busy.

Of course, tooth loss during childhood is normal, and your child’s progress will be monitored at each Charlotte pediatric dental visit. The first tooth is lost around the age of 5 and the last ones are generally lost around of the age of 12. What happens though, when the last baby teeth just seem to hang around with no indication that they’ll ever fall out?

There is a common condition known as hypodontia, in which one or more adult teeth fail to develop. Under normal circumstances, a permanent adult tooth will form in the bone underneath a baby tooth, growing and moving upward until the baby loosens and eventually falls out. For patients with hypodontia, the adult tooth just doesn’t develop and the baby tooth isn’t motivated to fall out.

This condition isn’t necessarily an emergency, although it does warrant a periodic dental examination to monitor for any changes. A baby tooth that does not fall out is called a retained primary tooth, and does not present any serious health risks. However, the tooth will generally be much smaller as less functional than the other teeth, and might eventually need to be replaced with a dental implant or another suitable replacement.

Occasionally, the baby tooth will fall out on its own, even without its grownup replacement underneath. This may leave a gap between the remaining teeth prompting a more timely decision in terms of seeking a replacement.

For more information on hypodontia and other dental conditions, schedule your pediatric dental checkup today at Carolina Kids Dentistry.