Young children fall all the time when they are playing and starting to learn to walk. When a young child falls, they could hit their front primary teeth causing a primary tooth to become ankylosed. Usually the traumatic event is not noticed by the parent because the tooth does not bleed or is knocked out of position. However, as the child grows, the parent will notice a distortion of the jaw bone. This is usually due to an ankylosed primary tooth.
Because of the trauma, the tooth could become ankylosed. An ankylosed tooth is when the periodontal ligament breaks down and the bone and root have fused together. Once ankylosis occurs, the tooth will not move anymore. As the jaw bone lengthens in height, the ankylosed tooth will remain in the same spot but the other teeth will erupt past it. This can result in an impaction of the unerupted permanent teeth and cause a distortion of the jaw bone itself.
What can be done about an ankylosed primary tooth?
The normal treatment is to remove the ankylosed primary tooth. If the ankylosed tooth has caused a permanent tooth to become impacted, then braces will be needed to bring the permanent tooth into place. An oral surgeon will remove the primary ankylosed tooth and then uncover the impacted permanent tooth. While uncovered, the oral surgeon will place a bracket and a chain on the crown of the tooth. The surgeon will suture the impacted permanent tooth back up and allowed it to heal. The chain will be all that is exposed.
With the braces, the orthodontist will apply pressure monthly to bring the permanent tooth into place. Slowly the permanent tooth will come into proper position. Normal treatment time for a procedure like this is about one year.
If you look at your child’s teeth and the occlusion is not in a single plane, consult an orthodontist. You can prevent impaction of permanent teeth by catching this problem early.