Ankylosis is a dental situation in which the roots of primary teeth lose their
normal attachment to the bone (small ligaments) and become fused directly
to the bone. The cause of this is not known, but it is seen fairly often,
particularly in lower primary molars.

                          WILL IT CAUSE PROBLEMS?

There are three potential problems that can occur. Because the ankylosed
tooth is fused to the bone, it will no longer erupt normally and will appear
submerged. This can lead to malpositioning of the teeth on eithe side of it
and super-eruption of the opposing tooth in the opposite dental arch (see
figure 1). Of greater concern, however, is the disruption of the usual way
that primary teeth lose their roots (dissolving away during the growth of
the permanent tooth in the bone). About half the time the growth of the
permanent tooth will be blocked by the ankylosed tooth because the roots
will not dissolve (see figure 2).

                    Figure 1                                                 Figure 2

                                  WHAT MUST BE DONE?

If the permanent tooth is blocked from erupting, the ankylosed tooth must
be surgically removed (extracted) by an oral surgeon. The timing of this is
dependent upon the development of the permanent tooth and can best be
determined by regular followup and x-ray examination of the area.

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