Baby's Teeth Seem Wider Than Normal? Take Them to a Children's Dental Care Specialist

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents take their children to see the dentist for their first time by the time the child is one year of age or within a half a year of the first tooth erupting from the gum. The timing of the first appointment with the dentist is particularly important if parents notice that their child has a tooth that appears much wider than what is considered normal, the child should be taken to the dentist. Here's what that might mean:

Double Teeth: Fusion vs Gemination

When a tooth appears to be double the width it should be, it may be one of two conditions: fusion or gemination. Fusion occurs when two separate yet adjacent roots develop then the teeth fuse together as one tooth. Gemination occurs when two teeth develop from one root yet remain attached at the root or base. Fusion more commonly occurs in the bottom jaw while gemination more commonly occurs in the top jaw. However, both conditions are rare. 

Monitoring with Regular Checkups

The primary concern with these conditions is that the area where the teeth are fused or geminated is prone to rapid decay due to the inability of the tight spacing to be thoroughly cleaned. The conditions may also cause crowding and delays in the progression of losing baby teeth and having them replaced by permanent teeth. Due to these and other risks, it's important that children with these conditions be seen by a dentist on a regular basis for monitoring via x-rays. 

Preventative Treatments

Due to the risks of cavities forming in fused and geminated teeth, it's often recommended that children with either of these conditions have dental sealants placed on the affected teeth to protect them from decay and cavities. That way, food and bacteria cannot get trapped in the deep grooves of the affected teeth. 

Sometimes, surgery to separate fused teeth may be necessary as the child grows older and one of the affected teeth naturally loosens while the other affected tooth isn't ready yet. However, surgery is not an option for geminated teeth due to the need for each part of the tooth to have its own root and pulp. 

Alternatively, sometimes teeth that are fused or geminated are extracted instead. It simply depends on the health of the baby's teeth and the way the child's permanent teeth are developing underneath, which is why it's important to have regular x-rays on a schedule determined by the child's dental care specialist