why do some adults have baby teeth
Baby teeth may not seem all that important, but they are extremely essential to the development of a growing child s jaws by preserving space for adult teeth. Most babies aren t born with any visible teeth in their mouths. The 20 baby teeth or primary teeth that we have, begin poking through our gums (erupting) between the ages of 6 months to 2 years old. Naturally, baby teeth are needed for proper chewing and are important in the development of speech and normal oromuscular function. However,
the most important role of baby teeth is actually preserving space for our adult teeth until they can grow up underneath. The reason we don t simply grow a singular set of teeth is that our jaws are just not large enough to accommodate the number and size of our adult teeth right away (we wouldn t want our jaws to be large enough either because giving birth would be near impossible). While our adult teeth are busy forming underneath our gums inside our jaws, our baby teeth keep space available so that adult teeth can erupt normally into our mouths. By distributing chewing forces into our jaws they aid in the development of those bones. They also make the process of adult teeth erupting much more organized since baby teeth are holding their place in line for them. Our baby molars are the most important teeth in this process because they are much wider than the adult teeth that grow to replace them.
If a baby tooth is removed early because of cavities, some of the space needed for our adult teeth in the dental arch is lost and this can lead to very crowded teeth when the rest of adult teeth grow in later on. Also this can sometimes delay the eruption of the permanent tooth that was growing below it, since bone can fill in over top of it, though this delay depends on other factors as well. Many people out there think cavities in our baby teeth aren t such a big deal since we end up losing them anyway, but the space we need for the normal eruption of our adult teeth is also lost when we get cavities between our baby teeth, especially large cavities between our baby molars. I included a picture to the right where you can see some space that was lost because of a cavity. As your children grow, they gradually lose their baby teeth, which are formally known as deciduous teeth or primary teeth. This is a normal part of human development, and for kids it can be exciting Б especially when the Tooth Fairy brings them a few dollars per tooth. These primary teeth form in the womb prior to birth, and erupt when your child is still an infant. Over time, they loosen and fall out, to be replaced with new permanent teeth. But what if your child reaches their teenage years, but still hasnБt lost all of their baby teeth? For many reasons, baby teeth donБt always fall out on schedule.
They can be lost early from trauma or dental disease, or they can linger much longer than usual. When Do Most Children Lose All Their Baby Teeth? The majority of children start losing baby teeth around age six, and have lost all of their baby teeth by age twelve. As the new permanent teeth begin to develop, they cause root resorption in the primary teeth. The old teeth are being attacked by osteoclasts, a type of bone cells that destroy other bone tissue. This process destroys the roots of the primary teeth and allows them to simply fall out naturally. Sometimes, a child will reach age eight or even ten, and still wonБt have lost any baby teeth. This is the point at which parents often become concerned. In most cases, this isnБt anything serious. However, there are some situations where a dentist may need to intervene. Delayed tooth loss would mean the childБs orthodontic treatment, like braces, would occur at an older age that would be awkward for them It is possible for an adult to still have some of their baby teeth. However, itБs quite rare. The etiology of over-retained primary teeth isnБt particularly well understood. It probably has a genetic component, but environmental factors and endocrine disorders may also play a role. If your teenager still has their baby teeth, youБll need your dentist to carefully assess their oral health with a comprehensive clinical exam and x-ray imaging.
TheyБll examine the shape, color, position, and composition of the retained primary teeth. ItБs possible that your child may have dental ankylosis, where the baby teeth have actually fused to the bone, preventing the primary tooth from erupting. ItБs also possible that the permanent tooth isnБt there, so nothing is pushing on the root of the primary tooth. Primary teeth can also be retained for other reasons, including trauma, pathology, obstructions, or misalignment of the permanent teeth beneath them. If your child has multiple over-retained primary teeth, they may need to see an orthodontist to develop a treatment plan. If the tooth is fine structurally and aesthetically, it can be retained. If not, it can be reshaped. However, if itБs crooked it may be better to extract it, then replace it with a fixed bridge or a dental implant. Early treatment can improve your childБs outcome. If your teenager has retained one or more baby teeth past the age of twelve, you should talk to their dentist about it. They may be able to simply keep the baby teeth, or they may need to be extracted and replaced with an implant. It depends on the state of the baby teeth, as well as whether or not thereБs a primary tooth underneath it waiting to erupt.
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