How Crowded Baby Teeth Can Affect the Growth of Adult Teeth

When it comes to the expected schedule for dental exfoliation (the process when baby teeth loosen, detach, and are then replaced by adult teeth), there's a small margin of error. This is because each child is different, so the exfoliation can occur at a slightly different schedule. Of course, there are certain factors that can make exfoliation difficult, such as when your child's teeth have an improper orientation (misalignment), or your child's teeth are overcrowded.

Without sufficient space for teeth to emerge, exfoliation can be disrupted, because there's no clear path for the adult teeth to follow. Fortunately, your family dentistry practice can help.

Intervention Has Not Previously Been Necessary

Misalignment and overcrowding will have been noted by your child's dentist, but this doesn't mean that intervention was necessary. If the teeth were perfectly functional, and their positioning didn't prevent proper cleaning, your child's dentist may have decided that corrective work was unnecessary. However, some intervention may be required now that your child's teeth are due to be exfoliated.

The Developing Adult Teeth

If there's any uncertainty about whether the configuration of your child's bite will prevent exfoliation, the dentist may need to confirm the presence of the developing adult teeth (with an x-ray or radiograph). When it's thought that these adult teeth may need assistance to emerge, your child's dentist might opt to extract certain teeth. This clears a path for the adult teeth to grow, which would not have happened otherwise due to overcrowding. Extraction, if necessary, will only happen at approximately the same time that the tooth would have loosened and detached as confirmed by the development of the adult teeth. 

When Additional Assistance Is Needed

Extraction doesn't always provide the desired results, and it may be that certain adult teeth will need additional assistance to emerge. In these cases, the dentist might need to make small incisions in your child's gum (after administering anesthesia), to expose the upper portion of the emerging adult tooth.

Your child may then need temporary braces to hold existing teeth in the optimal position, allowing the exposed tooth to emerge into the gap. These braces will then be removed once the tooth has grown into the correct alignment.

Not all tooth exfoliation happens at the same age for all children, but some children's adult teeth will need some assistance to actually emerge from the gums and to emerge in the best possible position. For more help, visit a family dentist in Richmond, TX.