Have you noticed an extra set of teeth appearing behind your child’s baby teeth? Don’t be alarmed! This is known as ectopic eruption or commonly referred to as “shark teeth.” While it may seem strange for your child’s permanent teeth to come through before losing their permanent teeth, this happens in about 10% of children and normally resolves itself.
Read on in this blog from The Little Royals: Dentistry for Kids to find out why children develop shark teeth and what you should do about it.
Normal tooth development involves the loosening of the tooth root in your child’s baby teeth. This helps loosen the tooth in the socket and causes it to fall out naturally. However, sometimes the tooth root is never dissolved or doesn’t dissolve properly, which causes the baby tooth to stick around.
Another cause of shark teeth is if the permanent tooth simply develops on an angle and erupts through that angle instead of replacing the baby teeth directly beneath them. When the baby teeth fail to fall out, the permanent teeth have no space and are forced to erupt behind the baby teeth.
Shark teeth can technically happen at any time that your child is developing permanent teeth. However, there are specific teeth and time frames that put them at a higher risk for shark teeth. This time frame is when the lower permanent teeth are supposed to come through, between the ages of 5 to 7 or when the rear molars in the upper arch of teeth come through around the age of 11 or 12.
When children develop shark teeth, there isn’t much you need to do depending on how loose the baby teeth are. Feel their baby tooth to check how stable it is and if it feels loose, encourage your child to repeatedly wiggle it in the socket to try to loosen it.
This can help them fall out. However, if they’re firmly in place and don’t wiggle, your child may need assistance removing them. In that case, make an appointment with our Jupiter pediatric dentists so we can examine them and determine if they need to be extracted.
We will also assess the gums to determine if the shark teeth have caused gum recession. This can cause complications down the road, requiring gum grafts as they age.
Firstly, there’s no need for you or your child to worry if your child has developed shark teeth, this is perfectly common and treatable. We will take X-rays and examine their teeth to determine if they can leave the teeth to their own devices or if an extraction will be necessary.
This depends on the age of the child and when the tooth is supposed to fall out. Contact us at The Little Royals: Dentistry for Kids today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sal Colombo or Dr. Yasi Colombo.