This week I was talking to a Mum who's 7 year old had lost a baby tooth but the permanent (adult) tooth had not appeared. Is this normal? Why do the new adult teeth not appear? When do you need to panic?
It is an exciting time for children when they lose a tooth and get some extra pocket money from the tooth fairy. Usually the permanent (adult) tooth soon appears and fills in the gap, but occasionally there is a delay in the adult tooth arriving and this can cause parents concern so lets have a look at what is happening.
When do you lose your front teeth?
Children usually lose their front teeth between 6-8 years old. This is only an average, some are much younger and some are much older. When you lose your teeth can also depend on if you are a boy or girl. Girls usually lose their teeth a little earlier than their brothers (upto 6 months difference). Genetics can also play a role. If a child's parents had teeth that fell out early, they are likely to have the same.
Why do the new adult teeth not appear?
There are a few reasons why adult teeth do not appear after baby teeth were lost.
1. The first reason is that the adult teeth are much larger than the baby teeth and so you need to wait for space to appear so that there is room for these bigger teeth. The adjacent baby teeth need to move out of the way and the child's jaw is also continuing to grow to accommodate the bigger teeth.
2. Sometimes the adult teeth are growing in the wrong direction. This commonly occurs with canine teeth and when they finally appear they are not where they are supposed to be leading children to need braces.
3. If the baby tooth was lost early due to trauma, an infection or cavities in the tooth, then this can also cause a delay to the new adult tooth erupting as the adult tooth was not ready when the baby tooth was lost. 4. There is also some research into nutrition affecting when adult teeth will appear. Children need calcium in their diet to ensure the correct formation of their teeth. So another little tip is to ensure that your child is having enough calcium in their diet.
When do you need to panic?
The good news is that you do not need to panic if an adult tooth does not appear. If a tooth has not appeared after 3-6 months of waiting them bring them in to see me, I will assess your child and even take x-rays to see exactly what the adult tooth is doing. There are things that we can do to get the tooth to appear sooner but it will depend on each child as to what is appropriate. I always do the minimum required on children - only what is absolutely needed!
If you have any further questions regarding adult teeth not appearing after losing baby teeth or any other dental question please give us a call or send us a message, we would love to help.