There’s no universal standard for how your child should grow and develop. Though there are often good guidelines and tips of things to look for, waiting on growth milestones, like your child’s first steps or words can feel like ages.
Teeth are no different. And many parents find themselves having a similar question: “Why are my kid’s teeth not coming in?”
South Charlotte Dentistry has been helping parents find the answers to all kinds of questions about children’s dental health. We’re here to tackle some of the misconceptions around baby teeth, diagnose the causes for delays in eruption, and make sure your child is on the right path to great oral health.
If you find yourself asking a similar question as the one mentioned before, or with any other concerns about your child’s dental development, it may be worth scheduling an appointment today.
Your Child’s Baby Teeth
Babies are born with the first 20 or so teeth already in their mouth. And while those teeth aren’t destined to stick around for long, they play a far more important role in your child’s dental development than you may think.
While baby teeth are growing in, your baby will likely experience pain and need some small steps to help provide comfort. Wiping the mouth with cool gauze or teething rings are great ways to help lessen the pain of tooth growth.
Baby teeth are an often-overlooked part of a child’s development. Some parents feel like the care around baby teeth is not nearly as important as that of permanent teeth. After all, those teeth won’t be there forever, right? While that may seem like a justified cause to have little concern, it’s actually a very dangerous view to have.
Baby teeth facilitate a child’s smile, create proper spacing for permanent teeth, help them chew, develop speech, and are tied to overall health across the board. If a baby tooth is lost too early, it may spur a permanent tooth’s growth and drift, leading to crooked smiles and other dental problems.
Another way to make sure you’re caring for those important early teeth is to put a hold on any sugary drinks. Sticking to water and milk early on can save your child from unnecessary decay and cavities. Bottles containing sugary drinks are a key culprit for this decay.
The first round of baby teeth, if all things are going accordingly, should come in between six months and a year old. (The appearance of the first tooth also typically requires your first dentist appointment.) While by the time your child is 3 they should have their full set of 20 baby teeth. Additionally, you can expect to see those teeth begin to go around 5 or 6.
The Tooth of The Matter
All this talk about baby teeth may leave the parents with bated breaths, waiting for the appearance of the first tooth. Though, for some, delays are entirely possible.
Whether we’re talking permanent teeth or baby teeth, a delay in tooth eruption usually warrants a visit to the dentist. Catching these delays or medical difficulties earlier is a key way to ensure dental health and that the teeth grow properly when they do come.
While there’s a universal truth related to what to do about delayed tooth development: visiting a dentist, the causes are anything but universal. Here are a few things that could cause your child’s teeth to come in slowly.
When adult teeth grow into younger mouths they can have a difficult time erupting properly. Adult teeth are bigger than baby teeth, so a mouth that hasn’t grown correctly can create problems.
Additionally, issues related to a lack of space can create “crowding” if the adult teeth do grow in. Often leading to a crooked smile.
Impacted teeth are teeth that are trapped and unable to grow in. This could be a result of blockage from either the gum or bone. This stems from narrow jaws, extra teeth, or general crowding issues.
Whatever the case, it’s typically necessary to schedule an orthodontic appointment to make sure your child’s mouth has enough space, and room for teeth to grow, and to clear a path for the developing tooth.
Teeth Are on The Wrong Track
This cause may sound especially concerning but is easily resolved. The prime candidates for teeth going in the wrong direction are the upper canines or lower bicuspids, or premolars (located between our canines and our molars in the backs of our mouths.)
You’ll want to visit a dentist so they can helpfully guide the teeth back to the right track.
Like any aspect of health, nutrition helps bring out the best in a person, your child’s teeth are no different. Delays in tooth development could be linked to a lack of nutrition or a deficiency in the diet. Lack of calcium or other nutrient-rich foods, like vegetables, can lead to slow tooth growth and development.
Extra teeth are another possible root cause. It’s a relatively common condition many children experience, known as hyperdontia, the condition results in extra permanent teeth that may block or impede the growth of regular teeth. Hyperdontia usually necessitates the extraction of the extra teeth, giving room for new ones.
Studies say the condition is likely tied to genetics. So if you as a parent experienced something similar in your youth it may be a prime candidate for the slow tooth development in your child.
The underlying cause of extra teeth, or hyperdontia, is usually tied to genetics. That’s a great example of how genetics, gender, familial history, etc. can impact dental development. A good indicator is looking back to how your development went, if you had braces, problems with growth, or other dental conditions, it’s entirely possible your child will too.
Everyone is different, so being a month behind, or ahead, of schedule usually is tied to genetic conditions, not an underlying problem. Gender also plays a role, with girls developing permanent teeth earlier than boys.
Better Late Than Never
If your kid’s teeth come in just a tad bit behind the average, there usually isn’t a cause for concern.
You know your child well and if there isn’t crankiness attached to teething, rubbing of the mouth, or other indicators of some underlying dental problems, late tooth development may just be the way your child grows. Just make sure you’re starting early appointments at the sign of the first tooth, as a way to ensure things are going well.
18 months should be the key indicator of a real underlying problem, so if your child has yet to develop a tooth at that mark, you should get to the dentist as soon as possible.
The Answer To Early Dental Problems
While the causes of a delay in the appearance of teeth are wide and varied, all of them share a similar solution: Going to a dental professional.
Getting a young child to the dentist can prove to be a difficulty in itself. Children commonly face dental anxiety and fears when waiting for an impending dental appointment. Finding a dentist equipped to provide not only dental service but an experience of comfort can be daunting. Still, that’s a challenge well worth it.
Developmental dental difficulties are complex and usually necessitate a professional’s guidance to correct them. Building a solid foundation for a lifetime of oral health is necessary, so putting off an appointment could spell trouble.
South Charlotte Dentistry has been serving the Charlotte area since 1999. Because of that experience, we’re very familiar with the wide array of causes and solutions to developmental dental problems.
And while you may be tempted to wait, the only real way to answer the question, “Why are my child’s teeth not coming in?” is by seeking out the necessary help and guidance.