SHARK TEETH is a term used to describe the situation when the permanent adult teeth are coming up behind the baby teeth before they have fallen out, resulting in a double row of teeth that’s often concerning for both kids and parents. This usually occurs between the ages of 5-7 years old. Commonly seen on the lower incisors (bottom front teeth) but can also happen when the upper incisors or primary molars grow in.

How are baby teeth replaced? As the adult teeth erupt out of the gums it will encourage the roots of the baby teeth to dissolve.

With SHARK TEETH, the roots have not dissolved quickly enough resulting in two rows of teeth.

Typically, it is only a matter of time before the adult teeth naturally replace it hence, in most cases no treatment is necessary.
Encourage your child to wiggle the baby tooth daily (with their finger or tongue) to loosen it to avoid it causing discomfort to your child when eating.
In some cases, you may notice the adult teeth are almost at the same height as the baby teeth and there is still limited movement in the baby teeth or they may become sore, irritable and inflamed. When this happens, you should bring your child in to have it checked at the dentist where they may need a little help to have the baby tooth extracted.

STILL WORRIED… ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS!

1. How old is my child and are they in the tooth loss time frame?

2. Is the baby tooth starting to wiggle?

3. Am I worrying about it more than my child?

If you answered yes to these questions, all will probably be ok! However, if you are at all concerned do not hesitate to call us on 03 93728960 or BOOK AN APPOINTMENT to see any of our caring dentists or oral therapists.

OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS!

Not necessarily, if the baby tooth is wiggling or loose, it is best to wait and see if that tooth will come out naturally on its own. However, if the baby tooth is not loose, your child may need to have their baby tooth extracted.

Should my child have their baby teeth pulled out if their teeth aren’t getting loose?
Every child’s teeth are different. And in many cases, baby teeth may not get loose on “schedule”. In fact, most dental schedules for when a child’s primary teeth are supposed to come in purposefully include wide ranges to account for differences between children. If you are concerned that your child’s baby teeth are not getting loose when they should be, you should schedule a dental appointment that includes x-rays.

If there is a stubborn baby tooth which has been wobbly for a while or causing some discomfort it can be a good idea to encourage your child to “wiggle” the loose baby tooth out with their tongue during the day to help speed up the process.

Permanent teeth coming through behind baby teeth is a normal process, however, you should visit the dentist if you have any concerns. Our team can also assess if any crowding is present and ensure there is enough space for permanent teeth to come through.  Sometimes, if the baby tooth is taking too long to fall out, the dentist may have to assist by removing the tooth. This is a quick procedure and our clinicians are excellent in making your child feel comfortable and relaxed.

Upper teeth too

Not every ectopic eruption happens in the lower front teeth.  Sometimes we see the problem in the upper front teeth and sometimes even the back molars.  If not corrected, there is a higher chance of needing braces or orthodontic treatment as your child gets older.

Dental x-rays give important information to paediatric dentists. This includes seeing how teeth are coming in. In fact, if your child has two rows of teeth your dentist is likely to recommend x-rays or an exam before recommending tooth extraction, that way they can see if there is an issue or if it will resolve itself.

Orthodontists will sometimes recommend what is referred to as an interceptive approach; which includes using braces or other dental instruments on a child’s baby teeth and then doing a second round of braces when the child is older. The interceptive approach argues that by using orthodontic approaches early, you can decrease the time needed during the second round of braces. It is recommended that children see an orthodontist when they are around 8 years old or when their dentist recommends it. This is especially true for children that already have issues with gaps, crowding, or two rows of teeth.

As parents, you likely want to make sure your kid’s teeth are right on schedule. However, it is very common for children to have their teeth come in early or late. Generally, a child’s baby teeth (primary teeth) come in between ages 2 and 3. These teeth will start to get loose around age 6 or 7 to make room for adult teeth. The process of replacing baby teeth with adult teeth will happen over the course of a few years. Even after this, sets of molars will erupt through the gumline with wisdom teeth not appearing until your child is likely an older teenager.


The following diagram shows the eruption (appearance) and shedding (loss) of primary teeth.

Thanks to our wonderful Oral Health Therapist, Tu-Anh.
She works at the Essendon clinic.
If you would like to talk to her or any of our amazing team, about this or any other questions you may have, please contact us on 03 9372 8960.

Tu-Anh