Ectopic Eruption of Teeth

An ectopic eruption is a permanent tooth that grows in at an abnormal position. The permanent tooth may grow in front of or behind the baby tooth. Or a permanent tooth may get stuck under a baby tooth and not grow in straight. Ectopic eruption of teeth occurs most often between the ages of 6 to 12 years.


Causes may include:

  • Your heredity (the traits passed down from your parents).

  • Early loss of primary teeth.

  • Poor fitting dental fillings or crowns.

  • Not enough space in the jaw for all teeth.

  • Gum disease.

  • Injury to the mouth or jaw.

  • Having an extra tooth or teeth (supernumerary).

  • Baby teeth staying in too long.

  • Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and pacifier or bottle use beyond the age of 3. 


  • Adult teeth may only partially emerge from the gum (impacted).

  • Damaged surrounding teeth.

  • Poorly aligned upper and lower teeth (malocclusion) giving an unbalanced appearance to your smile.

  • Teeth may appear crowded or crooked.

  • Difficulty chewing food.

  • Pain.

  • Tooth decay.

 Your child may not have noticeable symptoms until the last permanent teeth grow in. 


Your dental caregiver can detect and examine ectopic eruption of teeth by:

  • Oral exam.

  • X-rays, including panoramic X-ray (a 360° view of the mouth).

  • Photographs of the face.

  • Plaster models of the teeth (impressions).


Treatment depends on the position and stage of tooth eruption. The goal of treatment is to increase space in the gum line and allow enough space for permanent teeth. Your caregiver may recommend:

  • Extraction of baby (primary) teeth.

  • Orthodontic appliances, such as space maintainers, retainers, or braces.

  • Dental surgery.


Make sure your child sees a dental caregiver regularly (every 6 months). Regular visits with a dentist for oral exams can lead to early detection and treatment.  Follow up with your dentist as directed.