While children’s teeth usually erupt without significant problems, abnormalities do occur. For example, children occasionally have geminated teeth. A geminated tooth looks like two teeth that are very close together. However, this is actually a single tooth. During its growth, the tooth bud tried to make two teeth instead of one. While these teeth look separate, they are actually joined at the bottom.
While it can be disconcerting to see an unusual tooth in your child’s mouth, a geminated tooth doesn’t always create problems. However, there are some instances where your dentist may recommend that the tooth is extracted. How do geminated teeth affect your child’s oral health, and when might they need to be taken out?
The Effects of Geminated Teeth
Geminated teeth may cause crowding in your child’s mouth. The fact that the tooth is bigger than it should be means that it may take up too much space. Here, the geminated tooth prevents surrounding teeth from erupting correctly. If other teeth don’t have space to come through, then they may end up out of position or crooked. In some instances, the geminated tooth itself may be pushed out of place by other teeth. For example, it may sit behind or in front of its normal position.
If your child’s teeth aren’t aligned straight, then your child may develop issues with their bite. For example, if teeth aren’t lined up, then they can’t meet when your child bites down. Your child may find it hard to chew; this may also put extra pressure on the teeth around the geminated one.
Geminated teeth are also more prone to decay as they are harder to keep clean. The gaps in the dual structure of the tooth are extremely tight. Tooth brushing may not be able to reach inside these gaps, and flossing may not work.
Geminated Tooth Extraction and Treatment
Your dentist is likely to keep a close eye on your child’s geminated tooth to start with. If the tooth is a baby tooth, then your dentist may wait for the tooth to fall out naturally rather than taking it out.
If your dentist feels that the tooth is causing problems, then they may want to extract the tooth early. Plus, in some cases, geminated baby teeth don’t fall out on their own. If the tooth shows no signs of coming out naturally, then your dentist may recommend extraction. The adult tooth behind the geminated tooth isn’t likely to also be geminated.
If your child’s geminated tooth is a permanent tooth but it isn’t big enough to cause crowding or bite issues, then your dentist may leave it in place. This decision also depends on how well your child keeps the tooth clean and decay-free. In some cases, geminated teeth don’t look so great, so your dentist may talk about extraction if they think it is cosmetically advisable.
In some cases, a geminated tooth can be managed in other ways to save the underlying natural tooth and to make it look better. For example, if the only problem with the tooth is cleaning, then your dentist may recommend putting a fissure sealant or resin filling over the groove in the middle of the tooth. This seals the gap. The tooth is then easier to clean and has some protection against decay. From a cosmetic perspective, this also makes the tooth look more normal.
If there is plenty of room around the geminated tooth, then it may be suitable for a surgical separation procedure. This basically involves making two teeth out of the tooth. Alternatively, the tooth can be filed down and crowned.
To find out the best way to treat your child’s geminated tooth, contact Dental Smile Clinic.