Should You Worry If An Adult Tooth Is Growing In Next To A Baby Tooth?

Most people grow up without any significant difficulties with their baby teeth. When things work normally, baby teeth fall out and the adult teeth move in shortly after, taking up the spot where the baby tooth used to be. However, if you've noticed that your child seems to have a tooth breaking through directly behind, in front of, or otherwise occupying space that the baby tooth is already using, this could indicate that a problem is going on. Here's what you should know and do about it.

How This Can Happen

There are a few possible reasons why this can happen, though the most common one is that the adult tooth has erupted too soon. Normally, baby teeth start the process of falling out as soon as the bud of an adult tooth under them starts to push on the baby tooth. The baby tooth's roots are absorbed, it falls out, and then the adult tooth can easily move into the space that was held open by the baby tooth.

Unfortunately, if this doesn't happen in order, the baby tooth can end up still being in the way while an adult tooth is trying to move into the same spot. There's no real way of controlling this process; generally, early-erupting teeth are caused by genetics.

The Problems It Can Cause

When two teeth try to occupy the same space, it can cause significant problems and pain for your child.

For starters, the adult tooth can end up ramming into the baby tooth. Without its root having been absorbed, this can be quite painful for the child. It can also lead to overcrowding of neighboring teeth as the baby tooth is pushed out of its natural position.

If the adult tooth fully emerges and the baby tooth is still there, it can cause permanent alignment problems unless braces are utilized to fix it later on.

What to Do

If you suspect that this is happening to your child, you should visit a pediatric dentist right away. Pediatric dentists are professionals at handling problems with kids' teeth, so they'll know exactly what to do in this situation.

If your dentist examines the baby tooth via x-ray and finds that it's in the process of falling out, they'll likely send you home with some topical pain relievers to keep your child comfortable until this happens. From there, the adult tooth should move into its proper alignment.

However, if there aren't enough signs that the baby tooth is on its way out, your dentist will probably suggest extracting the baby tooth. This will be done under anesthesia to ensure your child's comfort. With the baby tooth out of the way, the adult tooth can safely finish growing in.

For more information on tooth problems, contact pediatric dental specialists like Dentistry for Children & Adolescents.