Early (Primary) Tooth Loss

primary tooth loss kids
04 Apr 2018

Early (Primary) Tooth Loss

Early unexplained loss of a primary tooth can be significant and warrants immediate investigation.

Reasons for early loss of primary tooth

1. Early extraction due to dental caries/abscess
2. Dental trauma
3. Ectopic eruption of permanent (adult) tooth
4. Periodontal (gum) disease
5. Other rarer conditions eg. Neutropenia, metabolic disorders, connective tissue disorders.


Early loss of primary teeth can lead to the development of crowding in the adult permanent dentition. This is most significant with the premature loss of primary molars.

When a primary second molar is lost prematurely, the first permanent molar drifts into space previously occupied by the primary molar instead of erupting behind the primary molar. As a result, there will be insufficient arch space for the premolar (which replaces the primary molar) to erupt, leading to overcrowding.

Space Maintainers

Nature’s best space maintainers are our very own primary teeth. Where possible, the primary molars with decay should be restored with dental fillings or pulp therapy and crowns. However, if the tooth cannot be restored and is indicated for extraction, placement of a space maintainer may be considered.

Special Considerations for Space Maintainers

Risks and benefits of a space maintainer have to be weighed before making a decision of placing a space maintainer. A child with poor oral hygiene and high caries risk is not suitable for such treatment.

Discuss with your dentist to find out more. You can book an appointment with The Dental Studio today.

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About Author


Toh Siew Luan

Dr Toh graduated from National University of Singapore in 1999. As an undergraduate, she was on the Dean’s list and awarded the Mummery Book Prize for best student in oral pathology. She received a scholarship from the National Dental Centre to pursue specialty training in paediatric dentistry in Melbourne, Australia.

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