“Shark” Teeth

We often receive phone calls or emails from parents who are anxious about the eruption of their kids’ teeth. One particular arrangement that concerns parents is “shark” teeth.

What are “shark” teeth?

Occasionally, permanent incisors (the front teeth) will erupt behind the primary incisors. This creates two rows of teeth, which is similar to the way an actual shark’s teeth grow. Normally, the permanent incisors will push the primary incisors out; however, sometimes the primary incisors fail to fall out, and the two sets of teeth remain.

How do we manage “shark” teeth?

The permanent teeth typically win and eventually push the primary incisors out. Many individuals get anxious and are quick to advise pulling the baby teeth. In the absence of pain or infection, I do not advise immediate extraction unless the tip of the permanent incisors has surpassed the tip of primary incisors, and the primary incisors are rigid in the gum. Extraction usually means dental freezing, which can be an unpleasant experience for a child who is not expecting it. Ultimately, when the primary teeth fall out (or are removed), the tongue will push the permanent incisors forward into their natural position.

If you have questions or concerns about the eruption of your child’s teeth, please do not hesitate to give our office a call, and we will be happy to schedule an appointment to assess the situation.

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