A child’s first set of teeth (primary, or “baby” teeth) usually fall out beginning around age 6 or 7. When everything goes like it should, each one is replaced by a permanent, or secondary, tooth. But sometimes, there is not an adult tooth waiting to replace the first one — and that can lead the baby tooth to hang around in the jaw for years after the others are lost and replaced. These lingerers are called “over-retained” baby teeth. Dental implants in Houston provide a successful replacement — keep reading to find out more about solutions for adult baby teeth.
Why Some People Have Adult Baby Teeth
A small number of adults will hold onto one or more of their baby teeth past childhood. While the causes of over-retained baby teeth are not exactly known, genetics can play a factor, as well as injury, facial trauma, and infection.
If the baby tooth isn’t lost at the right time due to a lack of the permanent one behind it, the primary tooth will become ankylosed, or fused together with the jawbone, and remain in the smile for decades.
The most common permanent tooth to be missing is one of the lateral incisors, or the teeth that are located right beside your two very front teeth. The lower premolar, or the first, smaller back tooth, is also frequently missing. These missing adult teeth lead to over-retained baby teeth.
Problems with Over-Retained Baby Teeth
Should you get your baby teeth extracted and replaced? Well, the answer depends on whether your baby teeth are causing any problems. Evidence suggests that rover-retained baby teeth can remain in the mouth for decades with no problems.
However, it is important to keep in mind that every case is different. Often, these lingering baby teeth can cause some unpleasant issues. For example, if you have a tooth that is noticeably smaller than the ones around it, you might be a little embarrassed when you smile. This is especially true if your over-retained baby tooth is toward the front of your mouth.
Additionally, if the chewing surface of a baby tooth is significantly lower than that of other teeth, it may cause issues with your bite and interfere with your ability to thoroughly chew food. Periodontal bone loss (loss of bone around the teeth), root resorption of the baby teeth (their roots begin to deteriorate), and cavities are other potential problems.
The issues that can come with over-retained baby teeth emphasize the need for regular, routine dental care. Your general dentist can keep an eye on your entire smile and recommend timely action to stop or prevent issues with any part of your mouth, including primary teeth that have overstayed their welcome. If necessary, they may refer you to an oral surgeon to get the baby teeth removed and replaced with dental implants.
How Dental Implants Replace Baby Teeth
If you have a baby tooth that needs removal, a dental implant provides a comprehensive solution. A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root, typically made of a titanium alloy. After a tooth is removed, an oral surgeon can carefully place the implant into the jawbone, where it will fuse with the surrounding tissue over a period of a few months.
The dental implant process is different for everyone. If your over-retained baby tooth caused damage to your jawbone, you might need a bone graft to build it up before your implant can thrive. Your oral surgeon will walk you through the process ahead of you and answer all of your questions.
After an implant is in place, it will be topped with a beautiful, custom-made crown, which will blend in seamlessly with the nearby dentition and serve as a strong, natural-looking new part of your smile.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
People who are in good oral and overall health are typically good candidates for implant dentistry. You should also have good oral hygiene habits and be determined to take excellent care of your mouth. Most people with missing do qualify for the procedure, either right away or after one or more preliminary treatments, such as a bone graft or gum disease treatment.
Of course, implants are not ideal for everyone. Conditions affecting the immune system, like uncontrolled diabetes or cancer, may adversely affect your eligibility for dental implants. If dental implants are not a fit for you, your dental team will let you know what other treatment options are available for you.
Over-retained baby teeth are not always a problem, but in many cases, they are. Often, it is best to remove them and replace them with sturdy, natural-looking dental implants.
Meet the Practice
The board-certified oral surgeons at Piney Point Dental Implant Center provide comprehensive solutions for missing teeth. We can also handle complex extractions, including the removal of over-retained baby teeth. To learn more about us and how we may be able to serve you, contact us at 713-597-7340.