Baby teeth at 26.
January 27, 2006 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I recently found out at the dentist's office that I have "retained deciduous teeth." (I still have a bunch of baby molars, and their adult counterparts are still up in my face and behind my furthest-back current teeth) I have to go in for more x-rays next month, but the dentist mentioned orthodontics and seemed amazed by the whole thing, so now I'm anxious. Anyone ever deal with this?
posted by juniper to Health & Fitness (22 answers total)
I had to deal with this when I was sixteen.

One of my permanent teeth was impacted and I still had the baby tooth below it. They pulled the baby tooth, disimpacted the permanent tooth and attached a small bracket to it. This was done by an oral surgeon under full anesthesia.

When my orthodontist fitted me with braces, he attached a tiny chain to that bracket and slowly brought it down into line with my other teeth by means of tightening the chain one link at a time, via the wire of my braces.

It sounds positively medieval, doesn't it? And it kind of was. I think it was about a year before the original bracket could be exchanged for a regular bracket and the tooth treated like every other tooth in my head.

This was over fifteen years ago, and I have no idea if orthodontic procedures have changed.
posted by padraigin at 12:33 PM on January 27, 2006

This is interesting--do you mean that you never lost your baby molars, and eventually just forgot about it, until now? Not trying to sound snarky--that just seems unusual.

Anyway, I had an experience almost identical to padraigin, except that it was only about eight years ago--I was also 16.

My left canine as well as its bottom-row counterpart were my only two babies left. The bottom one had become impacted, but it was in the right place. So my regular dentist gave me novacaine, pulled the baby, cut a "window" in my gums, and my adult tooth eventually grew in on its own. A little crooked, which was mostly fixed by braces I would have gotten anyway. I was anxious about the cutting at the time, but it didn't hurt a bit. It was actually kind of cool.

Then I got the braces. The top adult canine was in the roof of my mouth, so I went under to get that one digged out by an oral surgeon. It was pretty much digging it out, too--when I woke up there was a huge hole in the roof of my mouth. It was weird. They put a "button" on it, and attached it to my braces wire with a chain, and gradually shortened the chain. Once it got closer to its intended spot, they switched out the button for a normal bracket to get it in line with the others.

I had braces for two years (not just for this), and while it wasn't the best time (junior and senior year of high school), it was definitely worth it. Straight teeth are great.
posted by lampoil at 12:50 PM on January 27, 2006

Same thing happened to my upper canines - but they were embedded in my palate (and one was turned around). I also have a baby molar with no adult counterpart. My dentist and orthodontist agreed to leave it until it became loose on its own and replace it with a bridge or whatever was most appropriate at the time. You may be able to do the same thing - I would shy away from a dentist that was all about pulling and cutting (or at least get a good second opinion).
posted by blackkar at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2006

Not so weird. Both my bottom premolars are baby teeth. I had no idea until age 28 or so when a new dentist pointed it out. At 39 they're still there, but haven't been part of my bite for years.
posted by plinth at 12:55 PM on January 27, 2006

Age 43, a baby tooth where an adult tooth never grew up above the gum line, both impacted now.

To fix it, I would need oral surgery and braces. And since the adult tooth has never been exposed to food or saliva, it's probably a different shade of white than my other teeth, so I would also need some kind of color correction.

It doesn't affect my life in any significant way, so I'll probably never get anything done about it. I did think until reading this thread that I was the only one with this condition, so glad to read others are affected too.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:01 PM on January 27, 2006

Hmm. Dentist seems to want to get in there and do something about this in the near future. He says decay and bite problems will happen. Maybe I can just wait until there's an actual issue? I do have pain above and behind my current visible teeth after a hot shower, sometimes.
posted by juniper at 1:14 PM on January 27, 2006

To lampoil: I knew I had baby molars, but when I was last at the dentist (years ago, very bad me) they claimed they didn't see adult teeth above them in the x-rays.
posted by juniper at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2006

I had this issue, en masse, when I was quite young (I'm guessing 12-14), and needed to get ten teeth out in one sitting. Six baby teeth and four badly impacted adult teeth came out that dark day, and they put me out to do it. Hurt like hell, anyways.

The process created a gap in my bite that lasted for years, until I got braces in HS.

Sounds like this sort of thing is fairly common, from what the others are saying.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:23 PM on January 27, 2006

I'm another person with hillbilly teeth here. At 33 I still have a couple of baby teeth molars. I'm missing a bicuspid altogether and another is just a nub. The inside of my mouth is a mass of bridges and porcelain.
I had all the work down when I was 16 or so, and haven't had to anything since. If it isn't bothering you, don't worry about it.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2006

I had 6 baby teeth pulled at 16, before I got braces. 4 adult teeth fell in fine, but the canines did not. They did what padraigin described in the first post. Had braces for two years, got them off just before Sr. Prom and voila! All done.

I'm surprised how common this seems to be... at least among mefites.
posted by clh at 1:59 PM on January 27, 2006

According to the family dentist, this is a common problem. My mother had it, as did my sister (she had two rows of teeth at one point) and yours truly (the upper eyeteeth). I had to do the surgery + braces + cute little chains routine.

He says decay and bite problems will happen.

You don't want the impacted teeth rotting in there, as it could affect the teeth around them (among other things). And the presence/absence of adult teeth can affect the shape of your face & jaw.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2006

But I have a cute face and jaw!
posted by juniper at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2006

My orthodontic problems are quite different from yours, but I too am in my late 20s and going the braces route. One website that I've found to be extremely helpful is Archwired. It's a site tailored specifically for adults with or considering braces, and there is a ton of info there. The forum there is also extremely friendly and supportive, nevermind full of very knowledgable people. From what I've read there as well, your situation is not at all uncommon, so defintiely check it out.
posted by cgg at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2006

do yrself a favor and get it taken care of soon. mebbe go get 2nd or 3rd opinion.

the likelihood of problems cropping up with yr teef is low, but if and when it happens, you'll be in severe pain and develop a nice little abscess that is neither cute nor friendly, will definitely require antibiotics and most likely mandate surgery anyway.

abscesses in the head are no good.
posted by herrdoktor at 4:46 PM on January 27, 2006

But I have a cute face and jaw!

And you want to keep it! You don't want future problems if you can avoid them by dealing with your orthodontia issues.

I didn't want braces either, especially at my advanced age (by 16, all my peers had long since had theirs removed, and I wasn't about to be just starting out). But I had a bite issue on top of the impacted tooth (and I also had a reversed tooth, as another poster mentioned--my mouth was a battlefield of wires and rubber bands for a few years).

The work did slightly change my face, but definitely for the better, and honestly, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. It was a very subtle difference, too.

My impacted wisdom teeth decayed, and really, the things that go on in your mouth when this happens are too icky to speak of. I wish I'd dealt with those much sooner than I did.
posted by padraigin at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2006

This is more common than you might think. The last of my baby teeth refused to fall out. Unfortunately, when I was about 16, my wisdom teeth started to come in (and this is weird, I had five instead of the normal four) and because my baby molars were blocking them, it was causing tension on my jaw. I had to visit an oral surgeon. He pulled my baby teeth. Then it turned out that my wisdom teeth got all turned around and wouldn't actually break the gums. At that point, I actually had to go to a regular hospital for surgery, and they had to cut my gums open and remove my wisdom teeth as well. Before I had this procedure, the oral surgeon told me that if they let the wisdom teeth come in as is, it might break my jaw. Then in the next sentence he tells me he might have to break my jaw to remove the wisdom teeth. Talk about choices.
posted by katyggls at 7:56 PM on January 27, 2006

i just wanted to add my own experience with getting my impacted wisdom teeth out.

my pop's a physician. he has medical "friends." a previous dentist "friend" had shot some xrays of my teef and found the impacted wisdom teef. a plan was formed, with me saying that i'd think about how i'd like to get em removed.

after consulting with my friends, i decided i'd get general anesthetic-- complete knockout! sounded great: go to sleep, wake up, and not remember sounds of drills, or the feeling of pliers, or the poppoppop of various connective tissues being ripped apart.

fast forward a couple of months to xmas holidays. it's dec 31. everything's closed, but pop sez: hey son, you know, this dentist dood i know can look at yr teef again and see if you really need to get em taken out why don't we go?

"just to look, right?"
just to look, son.
"i want to be KNOCKED OUT for this."
of course, son. it's your teef.

so we go to this dentist friend's office. it looks closed, but the dood's there. i hop in the chair. he looks around. at some point, someone made the decision that the teef had to be taken out ASAP. i think i froze up in terror and didn't resist, and a mask was put over my face.

ah, laughing gas!

only, i was congested. so, like, i kept coming in and out of consciousness. for the most part, i didn't really feel any pain after a ton of novocaine was injected, but i knew my body was registering that pain, because i could feel tears stream down my face.

i remember moaning, and i remember my pop holding down my legs. i remember arriving home, and then i remember being woken up by my mom. she wished me a happy new year, and then gave me another tylenol #3.

for the next couple of weeks, i had big pockets in my gums. i had to swish water vigorously to get food chunks out of them. for some reason, i'm thinking of chunks of chiknuggs from mcdonald's.

the end.
posted by herrdoktor at 10:34 PM on January 27, 2006

Yup, they're about to yank a bunch of 'em, so get set for some couch time and Lortabs.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:43 AM on January 28, 2006

My wife has this problem... some baby teeth with an adult tooth in the roof of her mouth. She's never had a dentist deal with this, so I'll tell her to keep an eye on this thread. I don't think it's caused her any problems so far though.
posted by BobsterLobster at 11:34 AM on January 28, 2006

Waiting is a bad idea. I waited to get my wisdom teeth out and the infection HURT - it felt like I had been punched in the jaw, even with Vicodin. Had to wait till the infection was cleared up.

Herrdoktor - I sympathize. I wanted to be out, but at the last minute they had a heck of a time finding a vein for the IV, so they kept me awake without telling me they were going to. (Or at least that's why I understand they kept me awake, but they did get the IV in, so I don't know what the problem was.) When I told my regular dentist what the oral surgeon had done, he was all "well it was probably safer for you to stay awake." Safer or not, he shouldn't have lied to me and told me I was going to be asleep unless he could promise it.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:33 PM on January 28, 2006

I had the same thing done as padraigin (and half the other people on here). This was only 3 years ago, so apparently the methods haven't changed. The pain of pulling those teeth down was unbelievable, so be happy that won't be your case, juniper.
Orthodontics and just having teeth pulled isn't so bad. Having teeth pulled down by regular brackets isn't that horrible (you get used to the dull pain after the first time or two), and pulled teeth eventually heal. I'd say do it now, since you may later regret it if you don't.
posted by denimflavored at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2006

I'M 29 and I JUST REMOVE MY 2 CANINES BABY Teeth and I'm pulling down the permanent ones. I just hope they come down.

I removed my wisdom teeth and I had braces on for one year before I removed my baby teeth. It was a complicated surgery, but now I have to wait.

I have a chain attached to each permanent teeth. After 3 months I can see the tip of the left size one, but the right size still inside the gum.

According to the doctor it will take from 8 months to one year for the teeth to come down.

I waited too long, but i always wanted to do it. I'm trying to stay as positive as I can.

I will keep you informed.

NY - Janaina Oliveira
posted by janerjbr at 3:39 PM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

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