Does Your Child Have Shark Teeth?

When we talk about “shark teeth,” we are not talking about the large predator of the ocean or Bruce from Finding Nemo… we’re actually talking about a very common phenomenon that occurs in many developing children.

“What are shark teeth?”

At the age of 5-6 years old, your child begins to have their bottom adult teeth erupt.  When a permanent tooth erupts directly underneath a baby tooth, it resorbs the root of the baby tooth, causing it to become loose and fall out so that the permanent tooth can take its place. Sometimes, however, a permanent tooth will not grow in directly underneath the baby tooth, and the root of the baby tooth will remain intact and it will not get “pushed out”. The permanent tooth can erupt on the inside of their mouth behind their baby teeth.  This creates the appearance of two rows of teeth, hence “Shark Teeth”.

Help! I think my child has shark teeth. Should I be worried?

Most parents become concerned when they notice their child has two rows of teeth, but this is actually this is a pretty common occurrence and will not detrimentally affect your child.  The most common place for this to occur is the lower and upper front teeth, but it can happen anywhere.

There is nothing to worry about; this is something that is very natural.  The first thing to do is check how loose the baby tooth is.  If the baby tooth is extremely loose encourage the child to wiggle the tooth out.  This will give space for those permanent teeth to freely move forward.   Sometimes the permanent tooth comes in and the baby tooth will not budge.  If this is the case, please call us at (615) 377-6306 and we can discuss the next step to take.  We would be happy to help you decide what the best course of action is.

Will the baby teeth fall out on their own?

Although often the baby teeth come out on their own, your child may need the dentist to give it the extra wiggle to get it out.  Once the baby tooth is out, your child’s tongue will naturally push the permanent tooth forward into the correct position. It is important to do something sooner than later, because if left untreated too long there are several repercussions.

If treatment is not done to remove those baby teeth soon enough, the result could be the increased need for orthodontic care in the future.  If those baby teeth are left too long, the permanent teeth can rotate and lose space causing crowding and misalignment. Finally, due to the close proximity of the teeth food and bacteria can become trapped in between leading to decay.  This can cause pain, and poor development for the permanent tooth.


More questions about “shark teeth”? Call our office at (615) 377-6306 or send us a message!

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