Humans possess two sets of teeth in their lifetime. The first set of teeth is known as primary teeth, baby teeth or milk teeth and the second set is known as permanent teeth. Primary teeth develop even before we’re born and they erupt during infancy and continue to remain intact until we reach the age of six. After this, the primary teeth gradually begin to exfoliate and make way for the permanent teeth.
However, in some cases, the permanent teeth cease to come out at its expected time as the primary teeth are not lost on time. This condition is known as over-retained primary teeth. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the various causes of this dental condition.
The Causes of Over-Retained Teeth
There are several reasons why over-retained primary teeth occur. When a child suffers from this dental condition, a thorough dental assessment is necessary.
A dentist first evaluates the colour, shape, position, and condition of the teeth with comprehensive clinical tests. A dental X-ray is performed to determine the exact cause. The treatment procedures vary depending on the specific cause. Before deciding which treatment option is best for your child, a dentist considers several factors such as preserving bone, dental contact, function and aesthetics.
Here are the most common causes of over-retained primary teeth.
- Incomplete Root Resorption: When a primary tooth falls, only the crown portion falls out. The root of the tooth dissolves away and makes way for the permanent tooth. Sometimes, the root portion of the primary tooth doesn’t get resorbed totally and creates an obstruction, causing a delay in the eruption of the permanent tooth.
- Bone Fusion: According to normal biological conditions, the teeth and jaw bone do not touch but are connected with micro hair-like fibres. This makes each tooth free to move slightly which is required to withstand the pressure created during chewing. Sometimes, teeth become attached or fused to the surrounding jaw bone. This condition is known as ankylosis.
Under such conditions, treatment depends on the presence or absence of permanent teeth underneath the primary teeth.
- Permanent Teeth Misalignment: If the developing permanent teeth are stuck underneath the jaw bone and fail to erupt, the primary teeth can see a delay in exfoliation. Also, in some cases, the permanent teeth erupt in front of or behind the primary teeth that are supposed to fall off. The exfoliation of the primary teeth is delayed as a result.
The other possible causes of over-retained primary teeth are trauma, pathology, infection, and late eruption.
Over-retained primary teeth can lead to a lot of dental problems if left untreated or not treated properly. They can cause dental caries, periodontal problems, and tipping of the adjacent permanent teeth.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the different treatment options for over-retained teeth in kids.