Seeing a child’s first permanent tooth erupt is a huge moment for many parents. But if you notice the tooth is growing behind the little one’s baby teeth, you may be slightly concerned.
This is something pediatric dentists call "shark teeth", and while it sounds scary, it is easily fixed. Check out this short blog post to learn everything about shark teeth and how to fix them.
A child’s permanent teeth usually push out the baby ones when they erupt. The adult tooth slowly dissolves the primary one's root, making it wiggle until it can easily be pulled out or even fall off when the child eats.
Unfortunately, sometimes this doesn’t happen. The baby tooth can be more stubborn and remain in its place. This means the permanent tooth doesn’t have room to grow properly, so it will stick out either behind or in front of the primary tooth.
It’s unclear why this happens, though children whose siblings also have shark teeth are more likely to experience them as well, so there could be a genetic component.
Shark teeth might not require any treatment at all. Sometimes, though the permanent tooth starts to grow behind the baby tooth, the latter will eventually fall out and allow the adult tooth to properly emerge.
But if you notice shark teeth, it’s best to take your child to a pediatric dentist for a consultation, just to be sure. A dentist can look at the baby's tooth and see if it’s ready to fall or needs more encouragement. They might also recommend a baby tooth extraction in some cases.
Parents might be tempted to "motivate" the baby tooth to fall out. They can start to wiggle it and even consider applying more force to pull it out. However, this is not recommended since it can cause the child pain and discomfort.
The child will naturally want to wiggle their tooth, so let them do it. If you’re worried the shark teeth are getting worse or the child is complaining of additional discomfort like pain, take them to see a dentist right away.
Even if they do indeed need an extraction, a pediatric dentist will make sure the child is perfectly comfortable and doesn’t feel much pain by using a local anesthetic or even mild sedation such as laughing gas.
Shark teeth appear to be a serious oral health issue, but in most cases, they’re really not. To put your mind at ease and access personalized dental care for your child, bring them to see Dr. Lee for a short consultation.
To get started, you can request a visit to Smile Ark Pediatric Dentistry online.
For more information, call us at (617) 372-2532 for a short chat.