Abnormal Eruption of Teeth Explained: What Is It & How It Is Fixed?

The process that teeth go through when they are developing below the gums and then move through the gums into their visible position is known as “eruption”. Tooth eruption usually begins at around 6 months old.

There are two sets of teeth that erupt in our lives, 20 primary teeth (aka baby teeth) and 32 permanent teeth (aka adult teeth). Most children will have all of their primary teeth (10 upper and 10 lower) by the age of 3. These teeth begin to naturally fall out, to be replaced by permanent teeth, when children are usually 6 or 7 years old. By 13 years old, all of the primary teeth have usually been replaced by permanent teeth. Also, usually at the age of 6, 12, and 18, additional permanent molars will come in (not everyone will end up with these last molars, known as wisdom teeth.) But, there will usually be 32 adult teeth in total.

When factors change the normal spacing between the teeth as permanent teeth are coming in, the result can be an abnormal eruption. If you’ve heard the term “abnormal eruption” before but aren’t sure exactly what that means you are not alone. 


In this article, we’ve broken down the answer to what an abnormal eruption is as well as the different treatment options that can be used to correct it.


What is Abnormal Eruption Exactly?


Abnormal eruption, also known as ectopic eruption or ectopia, is a disturbance in tooth development and is when a tooth erupts through the gum out of the proper position. A common example of this is when the canine teeth (usually found two teeth over on either side of the front teeth) come in higher up in the gum line above the other teeth.


An abnormal eruption can also create a situation where the tooth is blocked, preventing it from coming through the gum. This is known as an impacted tooth. The most common occurrence of this is with wisdom teeth in the very back of the mouth.


Any occurrence of an abnormal eruption should be fixed right away. Otherwise, it can cause problems in the development and alignment of the adjacent teeth. An impacted tooth will definitely need to be addressed before starting any orthodontic treatment.


Common Causes of Abnormal Eruption of Teeth


There are several things that can cause an abnormal eruption to occur. The most common is when there is abnormal timing of the loss of primary teeth and/or the eruption of permanent teeth.

For instance, if a primary tooth is lost too late, it can block the path of the permanent tooth behind it. Alternatively, if a primary tooth is lost too early, the other teeth can shift and change the spacing in the mouth. Also, if permanent teeth come in too early it can lead to an abnormal eruption.

Other causes include:

  • Having more permanent teeth than normal – a condition known as hyperdontia
  • Having a mouth or jaw injury
  • Having a smaller-sized mouth that does not provide enough space for all of the teeth


Orthodontic Treatment Options to Prevent or Correct Abnormal Eruption


Through a thorough examination of your mouth, an orthodontist can identify if an abnormal eruption is present, even if it may not be easily visible. They will then be able to go over the treatment options. The treatment for an abnormal eruption will depend on where in the mouth it is occurring and exactly what is blocking the way.

Treatment of abnormally erupted teeth can include:


Tooth Extraction

Before an adult tooth can come in, the baby tooth in its spot must fall out. As we mentioned above, most children begin to lose their baby teeth around 6 or 7 years old. Typically, baby teeth will come out on their own. But some stubborn ones may hang on longer.

A baby tooth that is already loose but still attached to the gum can cause discomfort and make it hard to clean the area. Even worse, a stubborn baby tooth can negatively impact the eruption of a permanent tooth.

As mentioned above, there may also be situations where the mouth is too small to fit all of the incoming permanent teeth.

In both of these situations, to prevent an abnormal eruption and make room for permanent teeth, a baby tooth (or multiple teeth) may need to be extracted.

Minor Oral Surgery Procedure

In some cases of an abnormal eruption, the erupting tooth is blocked from coming in fully or is coming in at a sideways angle and cannot break through the gum. In this instance, the tooth can be uncovered through a minor oral surgical procedure. This will allow the tooth to fully erupt and prevent further problems.


Early Orthodontic Treatment

If there are abnormally erupted teeth that are significantly “off course” from their proper location, early orthodontic intervention may be used to prevent larger problems down the road. This intervention may be something as simple as a passive appliance used to hold the space in the arch for the erupting tooth.


Braces and Other Realignment Treatment


In other cases of abnormal eruptions, braces and other orthodontic realignment appliances can be used to straighten the teeth. Dental technology has come a very long way and there are now more options than just traditional metal braces or headgear. Today, other options like clear ceramic braces (like Damon braces) and even clear aligners. Yes, in some cases, Invisalign can be used to correct an abnormal eruption!

If abnormal eruptions that you had as a child have resulted in misaligned teeth and/or bite problems, achieving a beautiful, straight smile is easier and more affordable than ever before.


An Abnormal Eruption Can Be Easily Treated to Restore Your Smile


While an abnormal eruption of a tooth can be painful, it does not have to cause further damage or self-consciousness. As you can see, there are a variety of ways to easily correct the occurrence of this common orthodontic problem.

After a consultation, the orthodontists here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics can determine the best course of treatment for your child’s abnormal eruption and your budget. We specialize in a variety of orthodontic treatment options to help achieve a great smile.

Contact us today with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment!