Haven't lost any molars yet

I am 14 years old, and I haven't lost any molars yet. I was wondering if that was normal. Also, recently one of my (two teeth away from my front two teeth) teeth that has already come out is about to fall out. Is this okay?


Dear Carly,

The average age for losing the primary molars is about 11-12 years old, but these are "average" ages; therefore, some people will lose their primary molars earlier and some later. While 14 is a little later than usual, it is not completely uncommon. Sometimes, people do not develop all their permanent teeth, for whatever reason, and these undeveloped teeth can be the permanent premolars (these take the place of the primary molars). It would be rare for all the premolars to remain undeveloped, however. Dental radiographs (x-rays) will show the absence of any permanent premolars; they will also show the stage of development if they are present, so you can have some idea of when they might erupt. Radiographs might also help determine if there is a an obstruction of the premolars which is causing a delay in eruption.

If the radiographs show a lack of permanent premolars, it is advisable to maintain the primary molars, if possible. These primary teeth can serve you well for many years to come. In fact, I have a patient in her fifties who still has 2 primary molars. I also have an 18 year old who was having problems with the primary molar, mainly pain caused by deep decay; therefore, we had to extract the primary molar and place a bridge. A bridge is a fixed, "permanent" restoration that replaces the missing tooth. Other possibilities for replacing missing teeth include implants or a removal partial denture.

If the radiographs show an obstruction to eruption of the permanent premolars, including a problem with the primary molars themselves, it might be beneficial to have the obstruction removed so these teeth can erupt.

Regarding the second part of your question, I am not sure I am exactly clear as to your intent, but the following information may help. The anterior primary teeth include two central incisors (front teeth in the middle), two lateral incisors (front teeth on either side of the middle ones), and two canines (also called eye teeth or cuspids - located behind the lateral incisors). You will lose the canines on both sides, usually about the same time as the primary molars. In addition, when the permanent teeth first erupt, it is not completely unusual for them to be somewhat mobile, especially the incisors. This is partly due to incomplete root formation. If you are saying it is the permanent canine which is lose, it may "tighten up" in a little more time, although canines tend to be pretty stable due to their long roots. If it is a condition with the permanent tooth, some type of stabilization may be needed, you may developing an "extra tooth" which is causing root resorption of the permanent canine, or the developing permanent premolar may be erupting at an angle which would also cause root resorption. Again, this is a condition which can and should be evaluated with the aid of dental radiographs.

My advice is to ask your parent or guardian to take you to the dentist for an exam and radiographs. This way you will know without a doubt as to what the situation is, and you will be able to plan for future treatment, if necessary. Good luck.

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