A child's transition from having baby teeth to having a full adult smile can be tough. During this time, there is a complication that can appear called shark teeth. It happens when the child's teeth do not fall out when they should. When the baby teeth do not fall out, the permanent ones will come behind them. When this happens, the child may end up with two rows of teeth. If your child has shark teeth, we here at Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry can help you.
Why Does My Child Have Shark Teeth?
Permanent teeth are underneath the baby teeth. At a certain age, and when the permanent teeth are ready, the baby root tooth dissolves. This process is what makes the baby tooth become loose. That way, it is easier to pull it out. Most of the time, this process will happen normally, and the permanent tooth will occupy the space of the baby tooth.
However, sometimes the root does not dissolve, and the baby tooth does not become loose. The baby tooth will keep being solid. Since the permanent teeth need to erupt but the space planned for it is not available, the permanent teeth erupt through the gums. In more medical terms, we call this "ectopic eruption." It means the eruption of the teeth in a place that is not supposed to be.
What Should I Do To Avoid Shark Teeth?
Sometimes the baby root dissolves a little, and it may need your help to pull the teeth out. If the tooth is a little loose, it helps to wriggle it to make it looser. Commonly, the baby tooth comes out on its own. Remember, permanent teeth erupt between five and seven years of age. If your child is still in that age range, most of the time, the eruption will happen naturally.
If the tooth feels very solid, you can schedule an appointment with us. We will make the pertinent recommendations once we evaluate the tooth. Sometimes it is best to wait for the tooth to fall out on it’s own, and other times extraction will be the best option.
Can I Leave Shark Teeth Untreated?
Some complications can occur if you leave shark teeth untreated. One of these is gingival recession. It occurs when the gums around the ectopic tooth attach very low to it. If left untreated, the patient may need a gum graft in the future. If we determine that an extraction is the best option, we will make sure to explain to your child what we will do. It is an easy procedure since baby teeth roots are smaller and easier to remove than adult ones.
It is always good to explain to your child why it is necessary to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are crucial habits that your child should practice, especially at the age where the permanent teeth start to erupt. If you think your child is at risk of having shark teeth, or you are worried about their baby teeth not falling out, you can schedule an appointment with us by calling 571-833-0344 at Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today.