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What To Do When Your Kid Has Shark Teeth

It's not out of the ordinary for odd things to happen as your child gains his or her permanent teeth. For instance, your child can gain what appear to be two rows of upper or lower teeth, resulting in a phenomenon commonly known as "shark teeth." It's nothing to worry about, but it is a dental issue that should be taken care of as soon as possible. The following offers more detail about shark teeth, as well as the most common ways to deal with the issue.

What Causes Shark Teeth

Starting at around age 6, your child's primary teeth will begin to give way to the permanent teeth they'll have for the rest of their lives. Under normal circumstances, the permanent tooth will start growing underneath the existing primary tooth. In the meantime, the primary tooth's root will begin dissolving in a process commonly known as resorption. This is what causes your child's tooth to gradually loosen over time.

When the time comes, your child's primary tooth should naturally loosen and fall out in anticipation of the permanent tooth's eventual arrival. However, it's possible for the permanent tooth to erupt behind the existing primary tooth. This usually happens when the primary tooth's roots are still in the process of being dissolved or haven't had a chance to undergo resorption at all.

The most common place for shark teeth to occur is at the upper and lower incisors. However, your child can develop a double set of teeth at just about any location.

Waiting Sometimes Works

Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to dealing with shark teeth. The first option involves waiting for the primary tooth to naturally loosen and fall out. In most cases, the tooth may be loose enough for your child to wiggle it out on their own.

Once the primary tooth is out of the way, your child's tongue will naturally push the permanent tooth forward until it finally shifts into the correct position. If there isn't enough room for the permanent tooth to shift into position, your child's dentist may have to take steps to relieve crowding and create adequate space for the tooth to develop properly.

When to Lend a Helping Hand

There's always the possibility that the primary tooth won't come out on its own, usually because the root hasn't been dissolved enough for the tooth to work its way out of the socket. It's only then when you should consider having your child's dentist extract the tooth in question to make way for its permanent counterpart. It's a relatively simple and pain-free procedure that'll allow your child's permanent teeth to move into their correct spots.

Most dentists recommend waiting at least 3 weeks after the permanent tooth erupts before you decide to have the primary tooth extracted. Keep in mind that both upper or lower permanent incisors can erupt in the same manner, so it's also best to wait until both teeth begin to erupt before having any extractions done. This way, your child won't have to go through the process multiple times.

After the extraction, the dentist may perform additional work to ensure proper development of the permanent tooth. To alleviate crowding and promote better tooth alignment, for instance, he or she may shave a small amount of material from the surrounding teeth. The dentist may also use a space maintainer to keep the newly-created space open for the permanent tooth to erupt and settle into.

Keep in mind that it may take several weeks or even months for the permanent tooth to settle into its correct position. Your child's dentist may suggest future checkups to monitor overall progress and ensure correct tooth growth.

To get more info about shark teeth and removal procedures, talk to a professional pediatric dentist.