A Guide to Good Health

Does Your Child Have A Baby Tooth That's Not Falling Out Naturally? Here's What You Need To Know About Tooth Ankylosis

If one of your child's baby teeth isn't falling out naturally, your child may have tooth ankylosis. A baby tooth with ankylosis is fused to the jawbone, which means that it can't be pushed out by the adult tooth that's growing beneath it. A baby tooth that's not falling out will cause the adult tooth to grow in at the wrong angle. To learn more about tooth ankylosis in children and how you can prevent it from causing oral health problems in the future, read on.

What Is Tooth Ankylosis?

Tooth ankylosis occurs when the root of a tooth fuses directly to the jawbone. When this happens to a baby tooth, it can lead to serious dental problems. A healthy baby tooth falls out naturally when the growing adult tooth beneath it presses against it and causes its roots to dissolve. Once the roots dissolve, it's no longer connected to the jawbone.

Tooth ankylosis prevents this from happening. The tooth is fused to the jawbone, so it won't move or fall out naturally like a healthy baby tooth. The adult tooth beneath it will still continue growing, and it will eventually erupt somewhere nearby at an abnormal angle.

How Do You Know if Your Child Has Tooth Ankylosis?

Your child may have tooth ankylosis if one of their baby teeth isn't falling out as it should. The tooth won't ever feel loose, and it will have an adult tooth erupting somewhere near it. The adult tooth erupting at an abnormal angle can cause gum irritation and sensitivity.

How Does a Dentist Treat Tooth Ankylosis in Children?

When a baby tooth is fused to the jawbone, the usual treatment is to remove the crown. The fused roots will be left intact. Removing the crown of the tooth will give the adult tooth beneath the baby tooth enough room to grow. If the adult tooth is erupting at the wrong angle, it can be shifted back into its normal position with braces.

If you think that your child may have tooth ankylosis, schedule an appointment for them at a kids' dentistry clinic. A dentist will take X-rays of your child's mouth in order to examine the roots of their baby teeth. If one of the roots has fused to the jawbone, they'll be able to remove the crown of the baby tooth in order to give the adult tooth enough room to grow.

If you don't treat tooth ankylosis, it can lead to oral health issues. Your child's teeth will be overcrowded due to the presence of the baby tooth that's not falling out, and your child will also have a more difficult time keeping their teeth clean—it's difficult to brush a tooth that is coming in at an incorrect angle. Treating tooth ankylosis early reduces the likelihood that your child will need braces by allowing the adult tooth to erupt normally.

For more information, contact a kid's dentistry clinic near you.