Dr Tanveer Ahmed
Dr Tanveer Ahmed Image Credit: Suppled

My 7 year old has her adult front teeth coming out and her baby teeth have not fallen out yet! What should I do?

This is something we dentists called retained baby teeth. Although baby teeth are supposed to fall out before the adult teeth come in, what is supposed to happen doesn’t always happen. And this is a situation which probably needs a simple but urgent fix.

To cut a long story short – those milk teeth will have to be removed as soon as possible.

Even though leaving the baby teeth alone to fall out by themselves is tempting and will eventually come to pass, the delay will cause the permanent teeth to erupt in a less than ideal position. And then fixing the bite which is most likely messed up already is going to involve braces or aligners which will involve time and money.

Most of the time, a quick removal of the baby teeth will allow spontaneous correction of the position of the adult teeth as they grow into the newly created space. Usually a gap of 3 to 4 months is all that is required.

If the crowding still persists and the teeth do not self correct, then you might have to get your child over to a dentist for a professional opinion. Early interventional dentistry can sometimes be done to create more room for the teeth to grow and prevent more complicated and extensive treatment in the future.

A few pointers to bear in mind – don’t try to remove the tooth yourself. Even though you might be successful, the experience might be traumatic and make her fearful of any other dental procedure in the future. Dentists can usually remove the tooth a lot more comfortably and administer a little bit of anaesthetic if required. It’s important that every procedure in the dental office is as positive as possible.