It can be exciting to notice that your child's baby teeth or adult teeth are starting to break through the surface of their gums. It's a big moment of development in your child's life, after all. However, while nature is supposed to handle this all on its own, sometimes things can go wrong with teeth that are currently hidden under the surface or are actively moving into place. Making sure to visit a dentist on a regular basis for dental x-rays is one of the only ways to diagnose these conditions before they become serious. Here are three things that your child's x-rays could identify about their incoming teeth.
All baby teeth are designed to go through a process called resorption. If you remember losing your own baby teeth, chances are you recall that only the visible crown and a little bit of tooth under it tends to come out. But what about the roots of the tooth that you see in dental diagrams? These roots are broken down and absorbed by the body before the tooth emerges. Breaking down the roots allows the tooth to be released, and removes the interior of the tooth as well, preparing it to be pushed out.
However, tooth resorption can occur when it isn't supposed to. Adult teeth hiding under the surface may start to undergo tooth resorption, putting the health of the tooth at risk. It can also lead to a lot of pain and potential infections for your child. Diagnosing this problem early on allows your dentist to treat it before your child has a negative experience.
Teeth that are growing in are either supposed to move up or down, depending on whether it's the lower or upper jaw, respectively. However, it doesn't always work this way. Sometimes the small buds of baby teeth or adult teeth develop pointing in the wrong direction. When this happens, the tooth may start to push into neighboring teeth or the space they're supposed to occupy. This can obviously trigger a lot of discomfort for your child, and can potentially keep their adult teeth from growing in properly. Finding this condition early on, like with resorption, opens up treatment options and lets your dentist correct the issue.
It's rare but not unheard of for people to not actually have all of their teeth develop properly. In some cases, there may not be a baby tooth or adult tooth in every spot of the gums. While this generally doesn't cause any pain or problems, it can be disconcerting to see all your child's teeth growing in except one. In addition, since the baby teeth act as a sort of guidepost to help the adult teeth move into position, a missing baby tooth can potentially lead to crooked adult teeth.
Contact a local pediatric dentist to learn more.