Shedding of baby teeth is a cause for celebration for many kids. But, besides the tooth fairy, a dentist should also check on them to make sure the eruption of permanent teeth goes as smoothly as possible. If there are any problems during the process, early recognition and treatment can prevent many future complications. What are these irregularities, and what remedies there are for them? Read our article to find out.
Baby teeth are of vital importance during early childhood. Their main purpose is to help with solid nutrition, aid speech and give the face a normal appearance. They also reserve space for permanent teeth in the jawbone. Nevertheless, around the age of 6 children usually experience that their teeth start moving, and, eventually, fall out, to be replaced by permanent teeth. This whole process mostly takes place without any complications; however, it should be monitored by a dentist, in order to avoid tooth irregularities or decay, caused by the abnormal position of new teeth.
Tooth Shedding – Common Problems and Their Treatment
The most frequent problem that occurs in connection with tooth shedding is crowding. As mentioned above, one of the purposes of baby teeth is to reserve space for permanent teeth until they erupt. If because of trauma or decay baby teeth fall out too early, this space disappears, resulting in crowding later on. If any baby teeth fall out before the age of 4, it is recommended to consult an orthodontist, who applies a so-called space maintainer to avoid crowding of permanent teeth.
Baby teeth falling out too late can also be an issue. Erupting permanent teeth are obstructed by remaining baby teeth, making them grow in a crooked position. In rare cases, permanent teeth erupt before baby teeth are shed, resulting in what looks like two separate rows of teeth. Luckily, these problems can all be treated efficiently if discovered by an orthodontist in time.
If symptoms of tooth shedding do not occur by the age of 8, panoramic X-rays are suggested to determine if these are only waiting to erupt, or missing completely. The latter phenomenon is called hypodontia, affecting around 20 per cent of the adult population. Dentists, based on the position and condition of the tooth, usually replace it, preserve the baby tooth, or close the gap left by the missing tooth with an orthodontic treatment.
These cases listed above happen rarely. Nevertheless, it is always advised to keep an eye on tooth shedding during childhood, to guarantee our kids a healthy set of teeth that lasts and fulfils its function for a lifetime.