Early removal of baby teeth occurs when a baby tooth is lost early, well before the underlying adult tooth erupts. Some causes of this are severe crowding and tooth decay in baby teeth, in which its removal is the only option.
Early removal of baby teeth is usually present in children and early to mid teenagers. Late teens and adults generally have all the adult teeth present.
Why does the early removal of a baby tooth need orthodontic treatment?
In children and early to mid teens: Space can be lost very quickly once a baby tooth is lost. The adjacent teeth may start leaning into this gap, preventing the underlying adult teeth from erupting. It may cause food packing in this area when eating. Delays in managing this may lead to a difficult extraction and/or prolonged orthodontic treatment to correct.
In late teens to adults: Loss of an adult tooth can cause natural changes in one’s bite. These changes are often not beneficial and can make future tooth replacement or orthodontic treatment more difficult.
What are the treatment options?
A fixed space maintainer is a simple and comfortable fixed appliance that can be used to prevent natural space loss while the underlying adult tooth/ teeth erupt. Even if some space has been lost, this appliance would prevent further space loss occurring.
Where there is mild space lost that has already occurred, a fixed lip bumper appliance can regain this space.
If the space loss is severe already, a decision may be made to delay any orthodontic treatment till most of the adult teeth have erupted. Removal of one or several teeth may be required. This would be discussed at your initial orthodontic consultation.