Why Aren’t My Child’s Permanent Teeth Growing In

As parents, it is essential to keep a close eye on our children’s dental development. The time when your child loses their first tooth and receives their dollar from the tooth fairy is an exciting moment for both parent and child.

Occasionally, a permanent tooth may not come in when expected. Of course, this can lead to anxiety, as nothing is more important than our children’s health and development. 

At Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics, headed by Dr. Joanna Yu, we understand the importance of dental health for children and adults alike. Fortunately, we have the answers to the questions parents need to know, not least of which is, ‘Why aren’t my child’s permanent teeth coming in?’

Common Causes of Delayed or Improper Permanent Tooth Eruption

Lack of Sufficient Space

The most common reason for delayed permanent teeth development is a lack of sufficient space. This is known as crowding, and it is a very common pediatric orthodontic issue! 

The permanent teeth emerging are usually larger than the primary (baby) teeth, leading to a lack of space and delays in development. It is important to note that there should be gaps between primary teeth that allow for the incoming permanent teeth to fit properly. If you notice that your child’s teeth are too crowded or lack space, Dr. Yu can help with numerous interventions, such as removing neighboring teeth or preparing your child for braces. 

The Permanent Teeth Are Going in the Wrong Direction

Another reason for delayed permanent teeth development is when they emerge in the wrong direction. This usually happens with upper canines and bicuspids and can cause significant issues in development. In this case, the primary teeth in that area may have to be surgically removed to allow for the proper positioning of the permanent teeth. This may also require braces to ensure the teeth grow in the correct place.

The technical term for this is known as malocclusion. This can occur for various reasons, such as genetics, thumb-sucking, or facial injuries. Malocclusion can cause problems with biting, chewing, speaking, and even breathing, which can make kids feel self-conscious or less confident.

The good news is that orthodontic treatment can correct malocclusion and ensure your child’s teeth grow correctly. Many options are available, such as braces, clear aligners, or retainers, which can make the process comfortable and convenient. By detecting and treating malocclusion early, we can prevent more severe problems from developing later in life.

Why Aren't My Child's Permanent Teeth Growing In


Genetics plays a significant role in the development of your child’s teeth. If your teeth developed later or you needed braces to make room for your permanent teeth, there is a good chance that your child’s dental development will be similar. One good idea is to talk to your parents and spouse to understand whether the delay may be related to genetic factors. 


Your child’s nutritional status can have a significant impact on the development of their permanent teeth. Teeth require a lot of calcium and other minerals to develop properly and be strong enough to push through the gum. Ensure your child has a balanced diet with enough calcium and minerals for proper tooth development. If your child is a picky eater or prefers sugar-rich diets, their teeth may develop later than their peers.

At Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics, we can recommend some tips and tricks we’ve found to encourage a healthy diet for proper dental development. 

Weight and Height

Studies have shown that taller and heavier children tend to develop their permanent teeth earlier than those who are shorter or of more typical weight. If your child is shorter and relatively thin, their teeth may take time to develop. However, parents need not worry as teeth will eventually develop in due time.

Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth occur when teeth are blocked from erupting, and this may be due to the loss of primary teeth or narrow jaws. This can cause the teeth to remain in the gum or not emerge at all. In such cases, a radiograph is needed to check whether the teeth’s position is correct, and if not, treatment is necessary to ensure the teeth develop correctly.

Supernumerary Teeth

Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth that can form anywhere on the arch of your mouth. They can prevent permanent teeth from emerging, leading to significant issues. 

The orthodontic treatment for supernumerary teeth depends on various factors such as the location, size, and number of supernumerary teeth, the age of your child, and the extent of dental problems caused by them. We may recommend the removal of the extra teeth if they are causing severe problems or may interfere with the normal eruption of permanent teeth.

In some cases, we may recommend braces or other orthodontic appliances to manage the supernumerary teeth. For instance, if the supernumerary teeth are causing crowding, orthodontic appliances can be used to create space for the normal teeth to erupt properly.

Why Aren't My Child's Permanent Teeth Growing In

More Questions? We’ve Got Answers! 

Now that you’ve learned a little more about some of the reasons your child’s teeth may be delayed in growing in, it’s time to make an appointment with the experts at Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics

Dr. Yu is an expert in both adult and pediatric care (that’s where we get the name!), and nothing makes us feel more blessed than the opportunity to help parents and their children in Portland and Windham find the greatest smiles possible!