December 12, 2021
You love to see your little one’s precious smile as those baby teeth start to come in. However, recently you’ve begun to see a second row of pearly whites coming in behind the first! While somewhat startling, rows of teeth in children are nothing to be alarmed about. These are sometimes called shark teeth, since sharks also develop rows of teeth. Fortunately, rows of teeth in kids rarely cause complications and are typically easy to manage. Read on as your Homewood pediatric dentist goes over everything you need to know about shark teeth in kids.
What Causes Shark Teeth in Kids?
Those teeth that are coming in behind the front row of teeth are your child’s permanent teeth. So why are they coming in before the baby teeth have fallen out? Typically, when a permanent tooth begins to come in, it dissolves the roots of the baby tooth above it, causing it to loosen and fall out naturally. However, this process doesn’t always go perfectly. Sometimes the permanent tooth develops at a slight angle, or the roots of the baby tooth simply won’t dissolve. In either case, the permanent tooth then begins to erupt behind the baby tooth, forming a second row of teeth.
When to Be on the Lookout for Shark Teeth
While uncommon, shark teeth can spring up at any point as your child’s permanent teeth are coming in. In fact, studies show that there are two periods of time when shark teeth are the most likely to develop. The first is around the age of six, when the lower front permanent teeth begin to come in. The next is around the age of 11, when the upper back permanent molars begin to appear. While researchers are still unclear as to why these are the most common times or what exactly causes shark teeth to develop, it’s suspected that it has to do with how the baby teeth move and adjust once these key teeth fall out or come in.
What Should You Do If Your Child Has Rows of Teeth?
There’s no need to panic if your child starts to get rows of teeth. In fact, shark teeth often resolve themselves on their own! Check to see if the baby tooth in front of the emerging permanent tooth is loose or not. If it is, encourage your child to wiggle and loosen it so that it falls out! Once it does, the permanent tooth will naturally shift forward into the proper position over time.
However, if the baby tooth is not loose at all, or if it is painful to touch or move, you should call your pediatric dentist right away. While these situations will also often work themselves out, these are signs that the process may be uncomfortable and painful for your little one. Your pediatric dentist will take X-rays of your child’s mouth to get the full picture of their dental development. With this information, they’ll be able to predict whether the baby tooth will eventually fall out on its own or if an extraction is necessary to move the process along.
While rows of teeth in children are unusual and odd-looking, they’re no cause for panic as long as you keep an eye on them. If you are ever concerned about your child’s oral health, how their teeth are developing, or simply have questions, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatric dentist for advice and peace-of-mind!
About the Practice
Dr. Angelica R. Rohner is passionate about caring for the growing smiles of Homewood, Birmingham, and the surrounding community. She earned her undergraduate degree in early childhood development and education before receiving her advanced degree in Pediatric Dentistry. With a variety of professional affiliations and awards and being a mother herself, Dr. Rohner fully understands that every child deserves personalized, gentle, and thoroughly effective dental care. If you would like to learn more about shark teeth in children, she can be contacted online or at (205) 870-0892.
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