One of the most startling things for a parent to witness is the lack of teeth and lots of spaces in their children's mouths. If your child has a couple of empty spaces where he or she should have teeth, and you have waited several months to see if the teeth will emerge, then it is time to schedule a visit with your dentist. Your child may either have impacted teeth, or no teeth remain to grow into those spaces. If the teeth are impacted, here is what your dentist can do.
Creating Room for the Emerging Teeth
The biggest reason why your child may have impacted teeth is because his or her mouth does not have enough room for these teeth to come through. Molars are the most commonly impacted teeth in both children and adults. Children who have pulled a lot of teeth out may find that any of their teeth could be impacted.
Some children end up with canines or front teeth missing because the emerging molars are too large for their little mouths and they block the paths of these front teeth. Your dentist may suggest braces to move teeth back or removing baby molars that are interfering with the growth of the front teeth.
Determining If an Impacted Tooth Can Emerge and Surgery to Correct It
Sometimes an emerging but impacted tooth will not make it through because it is attempting to push another adult tooth out of the way. This is a very severe problem, one which may require surgery. The dentist will want to preserve permanent teeth as much as possible and seeks to improve the situation in other ways first:
- Cut away the gum tissue covering the impacted tooth
- Dislodge the impacted tooth from the tooth it is pushing up against
- Use a special dental separator that pushes the impacted tooth to the side and holds it there until it has come through the remaining gum tissue and into better position
- Use x-rays to determine if the operation was a success, or if the only possible remaining solution is to remove the tooth entirely (a last resort)
If this procedure works, then the dentist can use braces to keep the formerly impacted teeth in place or move them into a better position so that other teeth do not experience the same problem. Regular dental checkups can give your dentist the chance to see where and when your child may experience impacted and unemerged teeth, and address the problem with a preventive measure rather than major surgery.