baby teeth

Baby teeth are a person’s first set of teeth as they grow and develop. Baby teeth are eventually replaced by adult teeth. However, some people have baby teeth well into adulthood. 

When Should You Lose Your Baby Teeth

Baby teeth, or, more technically, primary or deciduous teeth, start to fall off around the age of 5 or 6 years of age. At around 6 or 7 years old the permanent lower central incisors erupt. By the age of 13, the final set of teeth, the second molars, erupt on the lower jaw.

How to Know If You Still Have Baby Teeth

The most obvious difference between baby teeth and permanent teeth is with respect to size. Baby teeth are always very small compared to adult teeth. Also, because they have a thinner layer of enamel compared to adult teeth, they tend to be much whiter. 

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Baby teeth have softer edges, because they are not required to chew as much as adult teeth, or indeed to chew anything really hard. Adult teeth have sharper edges also because these edges, which initially manifest themselves as ridges on the edges of the teeth, help them erupt past the gums. Over time, these ridges are worn away.

What Causes Some Adults to Have Baby Teeth?

Typically, baby teeth remain where there is no permanent replacement for that tooth. This absence of a permanent replacement is known as “tooth agenesis”. This results in what dentists refer to as “retaining” baby teeth. This usually happens with the mandibular second premolars, which are found at the back of your mouth. 

Females suffer from missing permanent teeth at higher rates than males. Some people are more likely to suffer from tooth agenesis due to genetic predispositions. Ectopic eruption is another cause of baby teeth. This is where teeth do not erupt in the proper path. Impaction is another cause of baby teeth. This is when a tooth stays in the gum tissue or jawbone for too long and ends up not emerging.

How Do Dentists Treat Baby Teeth in Adults?

Keene based Perry Family Dentist advises patients that there are two available routes: you can either have those baby teeth removed -a process known as prosthodontically replacing retained deciduous teeth-, or, you can keep the baby teeth in place. 

If you decide to keep the baby tooth, you can choose to have some restorative work done, such as adding a molded cap on top of the baby tooth. This will make the baby tooth look like an adult tooth. 

If you choose to remove the baby tooth, then you can choose between:

  1. Leaving a gap where the baby tooth was.
  2. Undergoing an orthodontic procedure to close the gap.
  3. Autotransplant a tooth to the gap.
  4. Get an artificial replacement tooth. 

When Should You Remove a Baby Tooth?

If you suffer from complications from having a baby tooth, then you should remove it. Typically, people live with baby teeth without experiencing any complications at all. Complications normally arise when an adult has removed a baby tooth and it is found that the gap created is too small for autotransplantation or artificial tooth replacement. 

People may suffer from other complications such as badly aligned baby teeth; poor tooth structure around a baby tooth; growing gaps between teeth; submerging baby teeth and problems with biting food.

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