Tooth eruption refers to the emergence of a tooth through the gums and into the mouth. Generally, parents tend to see a baby’s first tooth anywhere between four and fifteen months of age. Toddlers should have all twenty baby teeth present in the mouth between two and three years of age. Subsequently, permanent teeth usually begin to erupt into the mouth by six years of age. If you notice that your child isn’t hitting their marks, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Children can sometimes be “late bloomers, ” which is normal. Yet, it’s important to be wary that while few and far between, there are cases where delayed teeth eruption signals other health issues.
When to worry about baby teeth not coming in is a question many new parents face. So when do babies’ teeth come in? As we mentioned earlier, the average age is anywhere from 6 months to 12 months, though some babies will get teeth earlier, and some will get them later. Timing isn’t that important; however, if your baby still has no teeth by 18 months, it may be time to see a pediatric dentist for an evaluation. In most cases, delayed tooth eruption is no real concern. However, getting a specialist’s opinion is still a good idea.
Delays in teeth eruption
Many parents are unaware of the signs and symptoms of delayed teeth eruption in children. Several factors, including genetics, nutritional deficiencies, chronic diseases, medications, and trauma, can cause delayed teeth eruption.
This condition is characterized by a delay or absence of permanent teeth emerging in the mouth. Once a child reaches six or seven years old without any permanent teeth erupting, it may be time to consider that there is an underlying cause.
Signs of delayed teeth eruption in children may include intentionally late appearance of permanent teeth, poorly erupted or not erupted permanent teeth, increased spacing between teeth, lack of an adult bite pattern, and an uneven temporomandibular joint.
What does it mean?
Delayed tooth eruption may signal certain health concerns and indicate future dental issues, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Increased need for orthodontic treatment
- Undiagnosed genetic disorder(s)
- Undiagnosed nutritional deficiencies—which could delay further growth and development
- Possible signal for delayed development in other areas of the body
If you suspect your child is being affected by delayed tooth eruption, make sure to schedule a pediatric dental appointment for a proper evaluation.
What causes Delayed Tooth Eruption
Baby teeth coming in late can be caused by several different factors, such as:
- Genetics: In some cases, delayed tooth eruption can run in the family. You may want to ask your parents and in-laws how old you or your spouse were when you got your first tooth. Other genetic conditions may also contribute to an altered eruption time, such as Down syndrome, amelogenesis imperfecta, or regional odontodysplasia.
- Premature birth or low birth weight: Babies born significantly early may experience developmental delays, and tooth eruption can be one of them. If a baby is six months old but was born three months early, their developmental age may be closer to that of a 3-month-old. (A baby’s teeth are already formed in the womb, around 3-4 months gestation, but they remain beneath the gums until well after the baby is born.)
- Vitamin deficiencies: Nutritional and vitamin deficiencies can play a part in delayed tooth development and eruption. Vitamin D-resistant rickets is just one type of vitamin deficiency that may cause delayed tooth eruption.
- Developmental disorders: Delayed tooth eruption is more common in babies with developmental disorders such as hypopituitarism, a condition of the pituitary gland (the gland that secretes growth hormones) that results in delayed growth and development.
The risk factors for delayed tooth eruption in children include genetics, nutritional deficiencies, chronic diseases, medications, and trauma. Factors such as severe thumb or finger-sucking habits may also increase the possibility of tooth eruption delays.
Heredity. Genetics can play an important role in delayed tooth eruption due to inherited disorders or gene mutations that cause the malformation of the jawbone and teeth.
Lack of proper Nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies may also contribute to a delay in teeth eruption as certain vitamins and minerals are necessary for the normal development of dentition.
Disease. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and cystic fibrosis have been associated with delayed tooth eruption since they affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients needed for tooth development.
Drugs. Medications involving anticonvulsants or steroids could also lead to this condition since these drugs can interfere with hormonal balance, which is essential during growth phases.
Trauma. Any trauma, such as physical injuries, might impede normal growth cycles and cause significant delays in teeth eruption. Our kids’ tooth eruption can be an overwhelming and damaging experience that can affect one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Fortunately, many resources are available to those who need help dealing with traumatic events. With support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists, people can begin to process trauma and eventually find a pathway toward healing.
Diagnosing the Delay
Diagnosing and treating delayed teeth eruption in children requires a combined approach of medical history and diagnostic testing.
Medical history examination should include questions to parents or guardians about any potential risk factors, such as genetics, illnesses, or medication use, that may cause delayed tooth eruption.
Diagnostic testing such as X-rays can help identify impacted areas and other abnormalities that may prevent normal growth cycles for permanent teeth.
Treatment and Management
Treating delayed tooth eruption depends on underlying causes being identified and addressed. In some cases, simply waiting for natural growth cycles will allow for normal progress and the emergence of adult teeth over time, with no additional intervention needed. However, if medical treatment is required, curative options such as orthodontic braces may be recommended to improve the positioning of misaligned adult dentition once they have arrived in the mouth.
Complications of delayed tooth eruption
It’s important to note that long-term complications associated with delayed tooth eruption could include poor self-esteem due to less-than-perfect smiles; dental crowding and impaction; skeleton abnormalities due to altered jaw size; periodontal problems due to disrupted normal hygiene practices; malocclusion (incorrect positioning) between lower and upper teeth when biting together which increases levels of enamel wear; improper chewing mechanics leading to speech constraints; social difficulties as well as possible kidney disorders since many hormones involved in tooth development also influence organ maturation. Therefore, parents need to visit their dentist regularly so that, if necessary early interventions can be made before these more serious issues arise.
When to Worry About Baby Teeth Not Coming In
Most babies will develop teeth between 6 months and 12 months of age. If you’re worried your baby’s first tooth hasn’t come in yet, call your kid’s dentist to make an appointment. We specialize in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, as these two services go hand in hand. You can visit one office for all of your kids’ oral care needs from the time they are a baby through their adolescence.
So when should you worry about baby teeth not coming in yet? The timing of when a baby’s first tooth appears can vary widely. Some babies may be born with teeth, and others may not have any by their first birthday.
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