In most instances, the baby teeth are shed before the permanent teeth erupt. For some children though, their baby teeth remain in place longer than they should. If your child has an over-retained primary tooth, here is what you need to know.
What Causes Delayed Shedding?
When a child's baby tooth fails to shed or fall out for more than a year after the dentist expects it to, it is considered to be an over-retained primary tooth. There are several reasons that this can occur, and some of the potential reasons are more serious than you might think.
For some children, the delay results because the permanent tooth has not began to erupt and push the baby tooth out of the location. The delay is usually nothing to worry about and will correct itself without any need for dental treatment.
In other instances, the delay could be the result of an infection, trauma, or a permanent tooth that is misaligned. All of these issues must be addressed to avoid future problems with your child's teeth.
How Is It Treated?
The treatment for an over-retained tooth depends on several factors. One of the most important factors is the health of the baby tooth and the teeth next to it. If the tooth seems to be structurally sound and don't seem to have any impact on nearby teeth, your dentist might take a "wait and see" approach. The tooth can be reshaped so that it does not present any cosmetic issues. When the permanent tooth does erupt, it should push the baby tooth out of the socket.
If the over-retained tooth is the result of an infection or trauma, chances are, your dentist will refer your child to a specialist for treatment. The specialist can treat the infection and determine if there is damage that requires more intensive care. For instance, they might opt to remove the baby tooth and replace it with an implant.
In the event that the permanent tooth is misaligned when it emerges, your child could be fit for braces to help correct the issue. It is usually an option if the permanent tooth has no damage and is structurally sound.
Over-retained teeth are not necessarily a reason to panic. However, your child should be checked on a regular basis by your family dentist. The dentist can monitor the situation and create a treatment plan when it becomes necessary.