Losing baby teeth and gaining adult ones is a normal part of childhood development and one that normally goes ahead without a hitch. Although it can be uncomfortable and a bit worrying for children, they're generally fine with a bit of reassurance and a visit from the tooth fairy.
Occasionally, however, there can be a problem, and your child's new teeth don't grow through as they should. While this is usually nothing serious, it does need to be seen by a dentist, so they can ensure the child's teeth remain healthy. These are some of the things to look out for as your child's adult teeth develop.
Baby teeth are lost too early
In most cases, it's the adult teeth erupting that pushes out the child's milk teeth, so they begin to show almost immediately. But occasionally, a baby tooth comes out too early. This can be because of decay, an injury or simply bad luck.
The problem with this is that it can leave a gap for too long, so the surrounding teeth can begin to grow out of position. When this happens, the overcrowding can cause difficulties when the adult tooth eventually emerges. The dentist may want to place a spacer to keep the gap open.
Baby teeth are still present at a late stage
Some children are simply late developers, and their milk teeth don't start to become loose until they're as old as eight. Although this is fairly common, it's best to see a dentist to check nothing is amiss. They'll probably take an x-ray to check for problems.
Part of the root is left behind
Baby teeth don't have the same thick, strong roots as adult teeth, and they can be partially left in the socket after the rest of the tooth comes out.
Usually, it will come out on its own eventually, but it can cause pain and discomfort, incorrect tooth growth and an increased risk of decay. Your kid's dentist will be able to remove it easily.
A loose tooth doesn't seem to be coming out
When teeth start to become loose, they can take several months to work their way out. If it seems to be taking too long, however, it might need a bit of help, so schedule a dentist appointment for your child.
The tooth development is causing the child pain
New teeth coming through and the old ones working their way out can feel strange and a little uncomfortable, but it's not usually painful. A dentist will check the process is happening normally and that there's no unusual inflammation and will be able to recommend pain relief if it's needed.