Orthodontic consequences of the early loss of milk teeth

Premature loss of primary teeth can result from dental trauma, tooth extraction in newborns, early childhood caries, periodontal problems, or can be a symptom of a more serious disease.

Did you know that there is a specific period during which a baby’s tooth should fall out naturally? A child’s first set of teeth are intended to facilitate proper facial and speech development. Additionally, the primary teeth act as guides for the permanent teeth, positioning them in the right places. To ensure their oral health for the rest of their lives, it is crucial to keep your child’s baby teeth in place until they are ready to fall out naturally. Baby teeth are necessary for a youngster to chew food properly and promote excellent nutrition.

For most young people, normal tooth loss begins around age 6 and ends around age 12 to 15. As permanent teeth press against baby teeth, the roots of these teeth deteriorate through a process called resorption. Over a period of 2-3 months, a lost milk tooth is replaced by its permanent counterpart. Baby teeth stay in place until adult teeth are ready to erupt, acting as space supports for them.

When a tooth is extremely damaged and cannot be saved by dental restoration, the dentist may recommend an extraction, but a parent may also decide to have their child’s milk tooth removed. There could be a number of problems if baby teeth are lost too soon, in the wrong order, or if a permanent tooth does not replace them within three months. In these cases, a child should see an orthodontist to see if interceptive treatment is needed to avoid more difficult orthodontic challenges later in childhood.

What leads to the loss of primary teeth too early?

Early loss of an infant’s teeth can result from a number of situations, such as

Dental trauma related to an accident or injury;

Periodontitis, a serious gum infection that can make supporting bone and gum tissue too weak to hold teeth in place;

Certain medical conditions, such as certain types of childhood cancer or hypophosphatasia, a genetic condition that inhibits bone development

A primary tooth may also need to be removed before it is ready to fall out naturally due to severe infections caused by tooth decay. Similar to how a primary tooth that has come loose due to dental trauma can become infected and require removal.

Problems associated with the early loss of baby teeth

A baby tooth lost too soon can lead to a range of dental and orthodontic problems, including:

Too much time spent with a gap in the mouth causes the other teeth to gradually move into it. These teeth will be misaligned and may prevent other baby teeth from falling out naturally.

The permanent tooth may not have enough room to erupt properly if the teeth come together in the empty space, resulting in crowding.

The impact of previous teeth that have moved and pushed against the permanent teeth can damage them before and after they erupt below the gums. Closing the space created by the movement of the teeth on the right and left sides of the extraction site causes the permanent tooth to erupt later than expected and in a different position.

The loss of dental arch length reduces the space for permanent teeth to emerge properly, resulting in crowding.

Disruption of the molar-canine connection.

Midline shift towards extraction site

Changes in the overbite and overhang of the teeth

Emotional and cosmetic issues

The opposite tooth will elongate if it cannot sense the contralateral tooth to halt its development.

How can I prevent early loss of primary teeth?

Although it’s not always possible to prevent a child’s tooth from falling out, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of early loss of a primary tooth.

Start by encouraging your child to maintain good oral hygiene. Make sure your child floss frequently and help them brush their teeth twice a day, every day. Serve balanced meals and limit your child’s consumption of sugary drinks.

Next, make sure your child wears an athletic mouthguard to protect teeth and gums when playing sports. The best protection for your child is a mouth guard specially designed by their dentist.

Schedule routine visits for your child with a pediatric dentist. Regular dental appointments are essential to identify and stop early tooth loss. The dentist treating your child can determine the likelihood of early tooth loss using a combination of visual exams and diagnostic x-ray imaging. If the dentist finds that your child is particularly prone to early tooth loss, they can monitor their teeth and work with you and your child to reduce the risk.

Space Maintainers – Solutions for Premature Loss of Baby Teeth

Dental cavities are more likely to occur in young children due to the thinner enamel of baby teeth. You might be surprised to learn that by the age of five, more than 50% of children will have tooth decay. Children who have untreated tooth decay may eventually lose the affected tooth. The spacing of adult teeth may be affected.

Your child’s pediatric dentist may place a space maintainer to protect the empty space until the permanent tooth erupts if your child loses a baby tooth too soon. Space maintainers are dental appliances created specifically by your dentist or orthodontist to fit the space left by the missing tooth(s). As a result, no other teeth can erupt into the opening.

Similar to a dental retainer, space maintainers can be fixed or removable in the mouth. Although the use of a space maintainer is not always necessary, you should always speak with your dentist if your child loses a baby tooth before the time when the eruption of their permanent teeth should begin (usually around age 6).

Remember that baby teeth are only designed to be used for 5-10 years. Taking care of your child’s primary teeth is the best approach to preventing early tooth loss. Your newborn and young child will learn to take care of their teeth for the rest of their lives if you help them develop proper oral hygiene practices.


Early loss of teeth in newborns can lead to dental health issues, which an orthodontist should assess as soon as possible. Interceptive orthodontic treatment may be necessary, depending on your child’s age and the position of the prematurely lost tooth(s). The early loss of an infant’s teeth can lead to misalignment of the surrounding teeth.

Misaligned baby teeth can also lead to misaligned adult teeth, as erupting baby teeth direct permanent teeth in their place. Crooked adult teeth require orthodontic treatment to be corrected. Treating the problem when the baby tooth initially falls out is simpler and less invasive than treating it after the permanent teeth have erupted unevenly.

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