Why Your Child’s Permanent Teeth May Not Be Coming In
Has your child lost a tooth recently and there are no indications of a permanent tooth growing in its place yet? What about having lost a tooth a few months ago, still with no indication of another tooth coming in? Believe it or not, this is more common than many people are lead to believe. However, just because it is somewhat common, this does not mean that everything will be okay with time.
Headed in the wrong direction?
One reason that a permanent tooth is not growing in, after a baby tooth falls out, may be because the tooth above that recently lost baby tooth is trying to grow through in the wrong direction. There are instances where a permanent tooth just does not properly erupt along the same path that the baby tooth grew through. Even when crowding is not an issue and there is sufficient space to grow, the permanent tooth can still try to erupt in the wrong spot. This ‘veering off course’ most often happens with the canines and lower second bicuspids.
Identifying the problem early on and removing the baby tooth as soon as possible is usually enough to get the permanent tooth to erupt in the proper location. There are still instances, however, where the tooth may not follow the correct path. When this happens, orthodontic treatment may be needed to help guide the wandering tooth along the path it was originally supposed to follow.
Is there sufficient space?
Another common reason that the permanent teeth are not erupting properly is there simply may not be enough space. This is especially common in the front of the mouth where the permanent teeth are typically much wider than the baby teeth they are replacing. Usually by the time a baby tooth falls out, enough space has been made for the permanent tooth to properly erupt. If there is not enough space, then the permanent tooth simply will not come in (or it may come in, but not properly).
This can be confusing for parents who may think that, by age 5 or 6, their child’s baby teeth looked perfect. The problem with this thought process is that a child who is 5 or 6 years old should not have baby teeth that look perfect. By age 6 a child’s baby teeth should have spaces and gaps between them. This spacing between the baby teeth helps ensure there is sufficient room for the permanent teeth to erupt.
If there is not sufficient enough space for the permanent teeth to come in, they may need orthodontic treatment in order to help these permanent teeth properly erupt.
More (uncommon) reasons why permanent teeth do not erupt.
These reasons, while less common, should also be considered when permanent teeth are not showing. A tooth veering off course and spatial issues are not the only causes of a tooth not erupting.
- There is no permanent tooth – It is possible for a baby tooth to be lost and there simply is not a permanent tooth to take its place.
- Ankylosis – This is a rare condition in which permanent teeth are fused to the bone.
- Primary Failure of Eruption – When this happens permanent teeth are present yet they simply do not erupt on their own.
What can be done?
If your child has lost a tooth (or multiple teeth) and no permanent replacement has come in, then it would be best to have them evaluated by an orthodontist.