In this blog from Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we’re going over the most common causes of delayed permanent tooth eruption in children. Oftentimes permanent teeth may be unable to break through the gums because there isn’t enough space, it’s growing in at the wrong angle, it’s become impacted, or your child has extra teeth. Various available treatments can create more space for permanent teeth to erupt, such as orthodontic treatment or extraction.
Lack of space in the mouth for the permanent teeth to grow into is among the most common reasons for delayed tooth eruption. Baby teeth are smaller and narrower than permanent teeth so it’s important for there to be gaps in the teeth for your child’s adult teeth to have enough space to come in.
When there are no gaps, there may simply not be enough space for the permanent tooth to erupt at all without running into other teeth. This may be addressed with braces, extraction, or waiting for baby teeth to fall out on their own.
Teeth can sometimes grow in the wrong direction. This is most common in the upper canines or the lower bicuspids. What happens when the teeth grow at the wrong angle is they can become trapped behind other baby teeth that aren’t supposed to fall out anytime soon, leaving the permanent tooth trapped inside of the gums.
Your dentist will be able to spot this on an x-ray and to allow the permanent tooth to erupt, you may need to have a baby tooth extracted. Orthodontic appliances such as braces may also need to be worn to encourage proper alignment.
If your child loses a baby tooth too early due to extensive decay, gum disease, or dental trauma, this can cause a problem for your permanent teeth. Baby teeth act as space maintainers in that their biggest job other than functionality is to hold a space in the mouth as a guide for the permanent tooth when it’s ready to erupt in the same place.
Though it’s perfectly natural for baby teeth to fall out to make room for adult teeth, if this happens too early, it can cause your teeth to shift and lean into this space in the mouth, leaving no room for the permanent tooth to erupt.
This is why premature tooth loss needs to be addressed immediately with space maintainers or other orthodontic appliances. Other causes of impaction include having a narrow jaw or lack of space in the mouth.
Children have 20 baby teeth and adults have 32, but some children are born with a condition known as hyperdontia, meaning they have supernumerary teeth. Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth in addition to the typical 20 baby teeth.
This can cause problems, because these extra teeth have taken up space where new permanent teeth are supposed to erupt, resulting in a lack of space and impaction in the gums. Your child may need to have these extra teeth extracted for the permanent teeth to come through.
Other factors can impact when your child’s permanent teeth come in, such as gender, nutrition, medical conditions, and obesity. Girls tend to develop faster than boys, so it’s not uncommon for girls to lose their primary teeth and receive their permanent teeth sooner than boys do.
Other research has shown that obese children also receive adult teeth sooner than their peers, while children with inadequate nutrition may be deficient and calcium and lack the necessary strength and nutrients needed to push new teeth through the gumline.
Certain medical conditions can also delay the eruption of permanent teeth, such as:
If you’re concerned about delayed tooth growth in your child, contact us at Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today. We can perform an oral exam and take x-rays to look for impacted teeth and identify the source of the delay.
If your child needs orthodontic treatment due to lack of space or overcrowding, we offer treatments such as Invisalign, braces, space maintainers, palatal extenders, and extractions. Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Maddy Goodman or Dr. Heather Sholander.