Adults with baby teeth: when can it happen?

Temporary or milk dental elements are those of childhood. They appear when the person is a baby and are then replaced by permanent pieces. But it may happen that they never fall out and there are adults with baby teeth.

The temporary items are 20 in total. They begin to appear in the child's mouth between 6 and 10 months of age. The eruption usually completes between 2 and 3 years.

The replacement of milk teeth for those of adults occurs progressively between 6 and 12 years. The temporary pieces are falling down so that the definitive ones take their place.

There are situations in which the temporary pieces remain in the mouth. In this article we tell you why it can happen and what adults with baby teeth should do.

When can an adult have baby teeth?

Finding adults with baby teeth is not such a strange thing. The persistence of temporary pieces in the mouths of the largest can be due to different causes:

  • Permanent agenesis: this is the most common cause. It is about the absence of the permanent tooth that must replace the temporary one. As there is no final piece that reabsorbs the roots and then takes the place of the milk, the latter remains in the mouth. In general, it is of hereditary origin, but it can be related to conditions of the mother during pregnancy or to underlying syndromes or pathologies.
  • Tooth included: here the definitive tooth is present, but remains in the bone without being able to erupt. Most of the time it happens due to lack of space. But it can also respond to ankylosis of the temporary to the bone (the tooth fuses to the bone tissue and it is not possible to move it). Also due to previous infections or trauma to the baby tooth.
  • Other conditions: there are pathologies associated with the development of teeth, such as some endocrine disorders and ectodermal dysplasia, for example. In these cases there is usually the absence of several pieces in the mouth.

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Can baby teeth cause discomfort or complications in adults?

Temporary teeth are not designed to last long. They are more fragile and less resistant, so they have a higher risk of fracture or tooth decay. Adults with baby teeth must exercise extreme dental hygiene to keep them healthy.

Another problem that arises due to the persistence of the temporary teeth is the discrepancy in size with respect to the definitive teeth. Being smaller, the milk elements cause alignment problems, malocclusions and diastemas.

An adult with milk teeth must exercise extreme oral hygiene to avoid promoting cavities.

Treatment options available for baby teeth in adults

Adults with milk teeth may or may not require some type of dental treatment. This will depend on the state of the piece in question and the presence or absence of malocclusions resulting from its permanence in the mouth.

Retention of the tooth in the mouth is indicated when the baby tooth is intact. Its root is solid, does not present mobility and does not alter the functionality or aesthetics of the oral cavity. Hygiene care on the part of the patient is vital in these cases.

When the milk piece causes occlusion problems the case must be studied carefully to choose between the different approach options. The same, in addition, will depend on the dental element and the cause that originated the persistence in the mouth.


As we already mentioned, the milk tooth is smaller than the final pieces. To get around the occlusion problems that this can cause, the crown is reshaped.

The dentist adds a patterned filling on the surface of the milk piece. Thus it acquires the size, height and appearance of an adult tooth. The base element crown and root need to be in good condition.

Extraction and orthodontics

In some cases, the dentist may determine that expressing the milk piece is the best option.

When there is dental crowding and lack of space, the baby tooth is removed and then orthodontic treatment is performed. The neighboring pieces are straightened and the space left by the extracted one is closed.

If the persistence of the milk element is due to the permanent tooth being impacted (retained within the bone), extraction is also necessary. By removing the temporary piece, the definitive one will have room to erupt spontaneously or guided by orthodontic forces.

Removal and replacement

When the piece of milk has cavities, mobility, reabsorbed roots or alters the functionality of the mouth, extraction is indicated. Later, artificial tooth replacement will be necessary.

There are several alternatives to replace the lost part. The choice depends on the clinical case, the needs and possibilities of the patient.

Currently, dental implants are usually the most chosen option due to the aesthetics and stability that is obtained. But its use should be in adulthood, when bone growth has finished.

Dental bridges and removable partial dentures are also options to consider. Well, they return the function to the mouth. As we have already mentioned, the dentist will be the one who best advises the patient in the choice of the smile rehabilitation method.

One approach option is to extract the baby tooth and begin an orthodontic process to correct the bite.

It may interest you: What should you know about dental implant complications?

Visits to the dentist are essential

Adults with baby teeth can hold these baby pieces in their mouth without even noticing. It is the dentist who, in general, makes the finding and confirms it with x-rays.

It will also be the professional who makes a diagnosis of the situation of the mouth. This will determine if the persistence of the temporary element is a problem and needs to be treated or not.

For all this, frequent dental visits are the key to maintaining a healthy mouth and avoid problems and complications. Paying attention to oral hygiene at home is also essential. Thus, with the necessary care, adults with baby teeth can have a healthy smile.