The development of the adult teeth in a child’s jaw is of great concern to us at Dr. Cynthia Wong’s Orland Park orthodontic office. We recommend that children get their first orthodontic assessment when they are about seven years old, at which point a few adult teeth will have come in but the jawbones remain pliable. Even when the adult teeth come in without complications, some correction is often necessary. But there are also cases in which the baby teeth fail to fall out.
Normally, as adult teeth push toward the gum line, the roots of the baby teeth dissolve. This is what allows them to fall out just before adult teeth come in to replace them. But the tooth roots may fail to dissolve if the adult tooth is coming in at the wrong angle or out of place, resulting in a person having two sets of teeth. This condition most commonly affects the lower incisors. The baby teeth would usually be extracted because of the threat of overcrowding they present and the difficulty of cleaning them, and the adult teeth would likely need to be realigned.
In some people, certain adult teeth simply do not develop. The most common instances of this are the upper lateral incisors. In these cases, the baby teeth would not fall out and would be extracted. These patients may require orthodontic spacers to keep their teeth from migrating together and filling the gap while they are undergoing preparations to replace the missing teeth with implants.