You look inside your child’s mouth and something looks a bit off... there’s a double row of teeth in the front of their mouth. Shark teeth!!! This dental term gets its name from the fact that sharks have from 5 to 15 rows of teeth in each jaw. Their teeth do not have roots and are replaced after about a week.
But no need to worry, having shark teeth is not actually a dental emergency and is very common among our 5-7 year old patients. In the dental world we call this “ectopic eruption” and occurs when a permanent tooth comes in behind the baby tooth before the baby tooth falls out. This most commonly happens to the lower front teeth, which are also the teeth that usually fall out first.
Usually the adult teeth dissolve the roots of the baby teeth as they move up, but sometimes due to crowding or unusual positioning, the adult teeth are forced to come in behind the baby teeth. More often than not, shark teeth will resolve on their own without having to extract any baby teeth. The baby teeth usually become loose enough over time so kids can take out their own teeth and then the permanent teeth will move forward into place thanks to pressure from the tongue.
There are instances when the baby teeth do need assistance getting out of the way with the help from a dentist. If the permanent teeth continue to come in behind the baby teeth so that they’re almost as tall as the baby teeth and the baby teeth aren't loose AT ALL, the doctor may recommend extractions in the office. If a child is purposely not wiggling or brushing a loose tooth and the area becomes increasingly inflamed, irritated, and sore, that may also indicate the need for an extraction.
Shark teeth are not uncommon, but should be evaluated if they don’t seem to be resolving naturally. They can cause crowding of adult teeth over time and can also make brushing and flossing more d
ifficult. If you do see shark teeth appear in your child's mouth, please give the office a call. We can make an appointment to evaluate the teeth and determine if treatment is needed.
We are always happy to help with any dental needs! Give us a call @ (505) 473-5437