Throughout our lives, we will grow two sets of teeth. Our first set of teeth are our primary teeth (which are also known as the “baby” teeth) start to erupt as little as one year of age. In just a few years, though, your little one’s permanent teeth will start to come in. Their “adult” teeth will start to appear right around your child’s fifth birthday and, if you teach them at an early age how to take good care of them, can last them their entire lifetime.
However, sometimes a permanent tooth will start to erupt while the primary tooth is still present. This is known as shark teeth. We here at Great Grins for KIDS - Portland like to monitor shark teeth to see if they need intervention from us, or if they will resolve themselves on their own without our intervention.
Do I Need to Worry about Shark Teeth?
When your child starts to lose their primary teeth, they can understandably be excited by this. After all, who does not love a visit from the tooth fairy? Some children may find that their permanent teeth are starting to grow in behind their primary teeth. This is known as shark teeth, which gets its name because sharks also have several rows of teeth.
Shark teeth are fairly uncommon, but when they do appear, they show up right around your child’s sixth birthday. Sometimes shark teeth can return a few years later when their molars start to erupt. Normally when a permanent tooth is ready to grow in, the tooth root dissolves naturally. This does not always happen, however. About 20 percent of the time, the tooth root does not dissolve, and your child will grow their permanent tooth behind their baby tooth.
Treatment for Shark Teeth
Fortunately, shark teeth are not dangerous and are not something you need to be too worried about. In many cases, the tooth will get loose as the permanent tooth comes in. Many children will start to wiggle the tooth on their own. If they can wiggle it out, then the problem can be resolved without intervention.
If your child is not able to remove the baby tooth on their own, then we may advise an extraction. If your child has one shark tooth, there is a good chance that a second tooth will follow. We may advise that we watch and monitor the progress of your child’s teeth to see if a second shark tooth arrives. If it does, and your child cannot remove either through wiggling them, then we may recommend that we remove them both at the same time. This can help make the procedure easier for your child.
Regardless if your child can wiggle the tooth out naturally, or we need to extract it for them, the permanent tooth will gradually move into its proper alignment over time. This can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months to happen.
If your child has shark teeth, then it is understandable to feel a little bit concerned about it. Fortunately, shark teeth are easy to treat and typically have a good outcome. If you would like to learn more about shark teeth and how we here at Great Grins for KIDS - Portland can help treat it, please give us a call today at (971) 470-0054 to schedule! We offer a variety of pediatric dental services like tooth decay reversal, dentures for kids, fillings, and more.