Losing Baby Teeth Late - Baby Teeth Not Falling Out
Problems with Baby Teeth Not Falling Out
Under normal conditions when a permanent tooth (except molars) is ready to erupt, the corresponding primary tooth must have already fallen out. In some cases the baby teeth do not fall out as expected. This could cause problems to the eruption of the permanent teeth, which usually need orthodontic treatment, or it may be a sign that there is a problem with the development of a permanent tooth.
Causes of Late Loss of Primary Teeth
Primary teeth are expected to exfoliate (fall out) between the ages of 6 to 12 years (for more details check this tooth loss chart). There are several conditions which may keep a baby tooth from falling out on time:
If a problem is suspected, the dentist will take an x-ray to check the development and position of teeth in the jaw, in order to determine if a problem really exists or if the teeth are just developing bit slowly.
Problems caused by Losing Baby Teeth Too Late
The most common problem occurring when permanent teeth start to erupt before losing baby teeth is crooked or double row teeth. Both conditions may require extensive orthodontic treatment or the extraction of some of the permanent teeth.
Teeth in double row (also known as shark's teeth)
Sometimes a permanent tooth will erupt behind a baby tooth, forming a double row of teeth. It happens more often in the front teeth (incisors). The baby tooth will usually fall out within a week or two because of the pressure and the permanent one will move to its normal place without problems. Otherwise, the primary tooth has to be extracted by the dentist to prevent orthodontic anomalies. In any case, parents should consult a pediatric dentist or an orthodontist if such an incident occurs.
The delay of losing baby teeth may also have a negative effect on the child’s psychology. Getting their new adult teeth is considered as evidence of growing up. Being the only ones among their friends left still with their baby teeth can make children feel uncomfortable causing stress and inferiority feelings. The parents should explain that (same as the growth in height) each kid is different and that their own adult teeth will come later but they will be stronger than these of their friends. Children must be prevented from forcefully pulling out a delayed baby tooth. Actually, a theory suggests that as longer the permanent teeth remain in the jaw, they become stronger, harder, and more resistant to cavities.
When to worry about not losing baby teeth on time
Not all kids are losing their baby teeth at the same age. Some delays may be expected, especially if the primary teeth have erupted late. Normally, parents should get worried only if: