What Happens If a Baby Tooth Stays in Too Long? 


As children grow and develop, the natural process of losing baby teeth paves the way for the arrival of permanent ones. However, when a baby tooth stubbornly refuses to fall out, it can cause a range of dental issues. Paediatric dentists play a vital role in managing this situation, ensuring the well-being of a child’s oral health. 

The consequences of retained baby teeth 

When a baby tooth overstays its welcome, it can hinder the proper alignment and spacing of the emerging permanent teeth. The roots of baby teeth are designed to dissolve, allowing for their natural fall-out. However, if a baby tooth remains, it could mean the permanent tooth underneath is missing, improperly positioned, or lacks the force required to push the baby tooth out. This can lead to crowding, misalignment, or impaction of permanent teeth, necessitating orthodontic interventions in the future. 

Moreover, retained baby teeth can affect a child’s oral hygiene. Permanent teeth erupting in incorrect positions can create hard-to-clean areas, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. These dental issues, if left untreated, can contribute to more significant health problems beyond just the mouth. 

Paediatric dentistry: prevention and solutions 

The importance of regular visits to a paediatric dentist cannot be overstated. Paediatric dentists specialise in the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They have the experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood. For example, here at Specialist Kids Dentist, we have an extra three years of specialised training after qualifying as a general dentist. Our Specialists are dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through to teenage years and children with special needs, such as ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, 

Early and regular dental check-ups help in the early detection of potential issues with baby teeth and their timely intervention. Paediatric dentists can monitor the development of a child’s teeth and jaw, recommend preventive measures and provide guidance on proper oral hygiene practices. In cases where a baby tooth remains for too long, a paediatric dentist can determine the best course of action, which may include removal of the baby tooth to make way for the permanent tooth. 

Furthermore, paediatric dentists play a critical role in educating children and parents about maintaining good oral hygiene habits. They provide advice tailored to a child’s specific needs, such as dietary recommendations, the importance of fluoride and the correct way to brush and floss. 

Having a healthy smile  

The retention of baby teeth for an extended period can pose significant risks to a child’s oral health and development. It underscores the necessity of regular dental check-ups with a paediatric dentist. These professionals are instrumental in identifying issues early on, administering appropriate treatments and instilling lifelong oral hygiene practices. Ensuring a child’s smooth transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth is pivotal in fostering a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.