Our son's upper right second molar never came in at 2 years old like his other three did. Around 4 years old, it finally broke through the gum but only barely. He's now 5 and a half and it is ever so slightly more visible, but still just even with the gum, or a little recessed. He's started a habit of chewing on his fingers all the time, and sticking them in his mouth. He finally told me today that he is doing that because his tooth is hurting. He never complains about anything - not an ear infection or anything. When I pressed, he admitted that it hurts a lot of the time. I brought him into the dentist for a cleaning and to get their opinion. They took about 8 bite wing x-rays trying to get a picture of what was going on (while I held my tongue) and finally decided they needed a panorama. I'm not thrilled with this, but it's the only dentist in our area that takes the state insurance. Anyway, after getting the panorama, the dentist says that second baby molar is attached to the bone and that it needs to be removed by an oral surgeon under general anesthesia. Further, there is no permanent tooth for that spot and so the dentist recommends seeing an orthodontist soon after to discuss a place-holder or how to deal with the asymmetry. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by all this and would love to hear from others who may have gone through something.
Interestingly, the dentist asked if he had endured any trauma such as a forceps delivery. On the contrary, my son was born at home and was a very peaceful and relaxed water birth. Makes me wonder what could have caused such a thing to happen.
I'm not sure about baby teeth, but my canine was attached to the bone, and I needed surgery to free it, then because it was at the top, not ready to emerge, they needed to attach a chain to slowly pull it down into position over 2 years.
The oral surgeon gave me the reason for this happening: the palate closes relatively late in gestation. For some, it closes even later (or not at all for those born with a cleft palate). For kids like me, the tooth buds are already formed when the palate finally closes and that can cause tooth buds to get "caught" occasionally.
But all this was 30 years ago, and they might have some new information on this. Anyhow, I imagine that the oral surgeon and orthodontist know far more about this than your dentist. Get your referral and go get the xrays so you can weigh your options.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.