Over Retained Milk Teeth

What are over retained milk teeth?

This is when a milk tooth (primary/deciduous tooth) is still in place when the permanent tooth is visible and has started erupting.

Who is at risk?

Any child can develop this condition although it tends to be more common in children with narrow jaws. Sometimes if a milk tooth is not removed in time it can cause the permanent tooth to deflect out of position and erupt out of line.

Signs and symptoms

It usually appears as the tip of the permanent tooth showing in the gum when the milk tooth is still fixed or only slightly mobile. It tends to be more common when the lower anterior teeth are erupting although it can occur when any permanent tooth is erupting. In most cases the permanent tooth erupts more towards the inner side.


Your dentist will diagnose an over retained tooth by examining the child.


It can be prevented by removing teeth in a timely manner, although this only applies when the tooth is mobile. Most cases tend to be unavoidable if the permanent tooth is erupting too far to cause sufficient mobility of the milk tooth.


The dentist will extract the milk teeth to create space for the permanent teeth to come in. In many cases, as the child grows, the jaw grows and the width expands. This creates more space and the permanent teeth get back in line without any intervention.