Treatment for over-retained primary teeth will depend on the cause of the condition, as well as the structure and appearance of the affected tooth. Several treatment options are available.
- Retain the tooth: If the affected tooth has good coronal structure (aesthetic appearance) and the tooth’s root is intact (proper functionality), your dentist may recommend retaining the tooth and monitoring its progress. If no permanent tooth exists, a functional and aesthetically acceptable primary tooth can be retained for years into adulthood. A benefit of retaining the primary tooth is preservation of the jawbone and soft tissues surrounding the tooth. The retained primary tooth should be closely monitored for deterioration, tooth decay, and its effect on other incoming teeth.
- Retain and modify the tooth: This procedure is utilized when the primary tooth is submerged, meaning it has less height and dimension than the adjacent teeth. If the crown and root of the retained primary tooth are in satisfactory condition, the tooth can be reshaped with a tooth-colored filling material to enhance its appearance. These modified primary teeth should also be closely monitored.
- Extraction: A retained primary tooth that has fused to the bone is typically treated with extraction. A space maintainer is usually inserted into the vacant area until either the underlying permanent tooth erupts or, in cases where no permanent tooth exists, a dental implant can be placed. Extraction is also performed in cases of a retained primary tooth that is misaligned. If crowding or other orthodontic needs are present, extraction and space closure with dental braces are often part of an overall orthodontic plan.
Untreated Over-Retained Primary Teeth
Some over-retained primary teeth last well into adulthood and cause no dental problems for the patient. Good oral hygiene is essential, as dental cavities are more likely to occur in over-retained primary teeth than in permanent teeth.
Primary teeth are not meant to last a lifetime, so their enamel coating is not as strong, leaving them more susceptible to needing dental treatment for tooth decay. Because of the increased risk of tooth decay, over-retained primary teeth can be a contributing factor in:
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Abscessed teeth (infection around or in the gum or jawbone)
- Malocclusion (bad dental bite)
- Misaligned permanent teeth
- Impacted wisdom teeth
If you are concerned that one or more of your child’s primary teeth may be over-retained, contact the pediatric dental and orthodontic specialists at Kids Dental for an evaluation.
At Kids Dental, we offer comprehensive, family-centered pediatric dental care in a child-friendly nurturing environment. If you are looking for a place to call your dental home, please schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric dentists by completing an Online Appointment Request or calling either office.
Plano Office Phone: 972-378-5437
Carrollton Office Phone: 972-394-2140