Did you know we grow two sets of teeth in our lifetime? That’s right; the first set of teeth are called the primary teeth —also known as baby teeth, deciduous teeth, or milk teeth. These come in as early as the first year. The second set of teeth, known as permanent teeth, start to appear at around 5-7 years.
Sometimes, however, you may notice a set of teeth growing behind your kid’s milk teeth. This condition is called shark teeth or “tooth behind the tooth” and is common on the lower incisors. However, it can also occur on the upper incisors and the molars.
Why the name shark teeth? Using the name “shark” to describe a set of teeth sounds off-the-wall, so why the name? The term “shark teeth” comes about because it resembles sharks’ dental formula, which usually has two rows of teeth.
WHY DO ONLY SOME KIDS GET SHARK TEETH?
Most of the time, permanent teeth develop just below the baby teeth. As the permanent teeth erupt, they will cause the roots of the baby teeth to dissolve, causing the baby teeth to come loose. The permanent tooth then occupies the same spot in the mouth. However, this does not always happen.
Sometimes the root of the baby tooth doesn’t dissolve. And this forces the permanent tooth to come in behind it, forming two rows of teeth in your baby’s mouth. It can be quite scary to see shark teeth in your child, but don’t worry! It’s a treatable condition. It’s also a lot more common than you think.
WHEN SHOULD I START TO WORRY?
Shark teeth are generally not a big cause for concern. The permanent tooth may dissolve the baby tooth root with time and move into its correct place. This can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months. However, be sure to schedule an urgent visit to your dentist’s office if:
- The baby tooth does not budge or get wiggly within 2-3 months.
- The shark teeth are popping up behind your kid’s molars. If left unattended, this could result in crowding issues down the road.
- Your child keeps complaining of sharp pain whenever the baby tooth is wiggled. The dentist will evaluate the condition and recommend a solution to ease the pain.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO NOW?
If we find out that your child’s baby tooth does not budge, we will create more space for the growing permanent teeth by disking or pulling it out. Once the milk tooth has been extracted, your child will push the permanent tooth into its rightful position with their tongue. Alternatively, we can advise you on what to feed your child to help wiggle the milk tooth.
GET IN TOUCH!
As always, At Sunray Pediatric Dentistry, we are ready to discuss your concerns about your kid’s dental health. Our objective is to help your kid feel confident about the way their teeth look and feel. So if your kid has shark teeth, don’t wait until the condition gets worse. Contact us today and let us help your little munchkin achieve a picture-perfect smile.