If your child's baby central incisors haven't fallen out yet, but adult teeth have started to emerge behind them, you may wonder if your child's dental health is at risk. This strange phenomenon is called shark teeth, which creates two sets of teeth in your little one's mouth. Although shark teeth can occur in any tooth, it usually affects the central incisors. In most cases, the baby teeth, or primary teeth, will fall out and the adult teeth will move forward to take their place. But if some of your little one's baby teeth don't loosen up enough to fall out, it may cause some orthodontic issues with their teeth. Here's more information about shark teeth and how a general dentist can help your child.
Why Does Your Child Have Two Sets of Teeth?
According to Intelligent Dental, children can experience shark teeth at any stage of development, but the condition typically occurs when children receive their front lower middle teeth, somewhere around age six or seven. Some kids experience shark teeth around age 11, which is around the time their upper back molars arrive. It's possible for your little one to experience shark teeth in their upper front teeth as adult teeth begin to emerge out of the gums.
Intelligent dental also reports that shark teeth can develop when emerging adult teeth don't dissolve the roots of baby teeth. In normal tooth development, adult teeth naturally dissolve or break down the roots of primary teeth as they erupt and push through the gums. Sometimes, there isn't sufficient room in the jawbones to allow this process to carry out. Your little one may have limited space in their arches because of their small jaws. In order to erupt on time, the adult teeth try to find another way out, which is often behind or in front of the baby teeth.
Although it will take longer for the baby teeth roots to dissolve, they should eventually break down enough for them to fall out. You'll know that the primary teeth are ready to come out if they wriggle around freely or dangle from the gums. But if none of these signs happen, or if the baby teeth don't fall out by the time your child turns 8 years old, take your child to see a general dentist for care. Central incisors should fall out by that time.
A dentist can examine your child's teeth and help you decide on the best course of action to take.
What Can a General Dentist Do to Help Your Little One?
One of the things a dentist may do is examine your child's shark teeth to see if decay has set in between them. When teeth crowd or sit close together in the mouth, there may not be sufficient room to floss between them properly. A dental provider may clean your child's teeth to prevent tooth decay, or the dentist may repair any cavities your child has in their adult teeth.
If your child's shark teeth crowd the mouth too much, a dentist may suggest extracting some of the baby teeth. The extraction may create additional space for the permanent teeth to move into place. If the teeth don't improve their positions over a time set by the dentist, they may evaluate your child to see if they can benefit from orthodontic treatment, such as bracers and retainers. A general dentist will discuss your loved one's treatment options in greater details during an appointment.
For more information about shark teeth, or if you would like to make an appointment to have your child's teeth evaluated, contact a local clinic like Dental Associates PC.