If your baby was born with teeth, or if they developed teeth shortly after birth, you may be worried about their early development. Here are four things parents need to know about premature eruption.
When should teeth erupt?
If your child's teeth erupt according to schedule, their first deciduous (baby) teeth should develop between the ages of six and 10 months. The lower central incisors are the first teeth to develop, and the next are the upper central incisors. The canines and molars will develop later, and generally, children should have all of their baby teeth by the time they're two or three.
Sometimes, the teeth develop much earlier. Some children already have some of their deciduous teeth when they're born, and others develop teeth within their first month of life. In both of these situations, parents should be concerned and take their infant to a pediatric dentist.
Why is premature eruption a concern?
Premature eruption has been linked to a variety of underlying health problems. Hyperthyroidism, a condition characterized by an overactive thyroid gland, is the most common condition that makes teeth develop too early, but other conditions, like neurofibromatosis, can also be involved. If your dentist diagnoses your child with premature eruption, a follow-up with your child's pediatrician is advisable to investigate possible causes.
The causes of premature eruption aren't the only concern; the teeth themselves can also be a problem. Teeth that develop too early may be underdeveloped; the roots tend to be abnormal, which makes the teeth too mobile. These mobile teeth can shift positions and cause cuts or ulcers on your child's tongue, and in some cases, the mobile teeth can even fall out and cause aspiration.
How are premature teeth treated?
The treatment for your child's premature teeth will vary based on how well-developed the tooth is and how mobile it is. If the teeth aren't loose and are normal other than the fact that they developed too early, the dentist may recommend leaving them alone. Your dentist can teach how you to brush and care for these early teeth to ensure they remain healthy.
If the teeth are poorly developed or dangerously loose, they may need to be extracted. Tooth extractions are fairly simple. First, the dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth with local anesthetic. Next, the tooth will be loosened with a combination of instruments and pressure. Finally, the tooth is removed, and the dentist will press gauze against the gums to stop the bleeding.
After the extraction, you'll need to supervise your infant closely. A clot will form over the extraction site, and if your child puts their fingers, toys, or any other object in their mouth, they could dislodge the clot and cause bleeding. The extraction site may also become infected if the clot is dislodged.
What impact do premature teeth have on future dental health?
If your child's premature teeth are normal and your dentist is allowing them to remain in place, you don't need to worry about your child's future dental health. Their remaining baby teeth will eventually erupt around the early tooth.
If the premature teeth were extracted, the situation is more concerning. The baby teeth serve an important role: serving as place guards for the permanent teeth. Since the premature teeth will be missing, the permanent teeth that will eventually replace them may grow in crooked or crowded. As your child gets older and more baby teeth erupt, you may need to see an orthodontist for treatments to maintain the spaces left behind by the extracted teeth.
If your infant has teeth earlier than they should, take them to a pediatric dentist right away for an evaluation. So contact local dentists or visit websites like http://www.nwidentist.com/.