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Shark Teeth? When Your Child's Adult Teeth Develop Behind Their Baby Teeth

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Do you ever jokingly refer to your children as animals? You might playfully (though with a sigh) call them pigs when their rooms are almost frightfully messy. You might lovingly call them monkeys when they're excitable. But what about sharks? Maybe the only time you would equate your child to a shark is if they should happen to develop so-called shark's teeth. Multiple rows of teeth might be perfectly ordinary for Jaws, and yet it can in fact be possible for a child to develop a second row of teeth. This occurs when your child's adult teeth erupt from the gum line behind baby teeth that have not yet fallen out. While it's an interesting side of your child's dental development, is it actually anything to be concerned about?

Double Teeth

In many instances, an adult tooth will seemingly push the baby tooth out. It's not as though the missing baby tooth is immediately replaced with an adult tooth, but the adult tooth will generally emerge shortly afterwards, sharing the same positioning (and root placement) of the tooth that preceded it. When the development of the adult tooth has required it to grow out from the gum line before the baby tooth has been discarded, it can emerge behind the baby tooth. Such an occurrence is generally limited to isolated teeth throughout the development of adult teeth, and yet it can be possible to see a secondary row of teeth.

Monitoring and Hygiene

Most of the time, this second tooth is unlikely to cause any issues. Your child's dentist will obviously monitor the situation during your child's regular appointments, but in most cases the baby tooth will fall out as normal (it might even be loose by the time an adult tooth emerges behind it), and the adult tooth will then take its correct position. Proper dental hygiene becomes even more important during this time, as it can be easy for food debris to become lodged between the two teeth. An appropriate mouthwash (to dislodge the debris) can be beneficial.

Solutions (If Necessary)

If you are at all concerned about a second row of teeth in your child's mouth, your dentist can refer you to an orthodontist. Overcrowding in the mouth can be problematic for the correct alignment of adult teeth, and you don't want these permanent teeth to be crooked for the sake of some lingering baby teeth. If overcrowding could be a potential problem, the baby teeth might be extracted, whether they are loose or not. A palatal expander might also be suggested, which can gradually widen the jaw bone, creating the necessary space for your child's adult teeth.

These so-called shark teeth shouldn't present a major issue for your child, but of course, speak to your dentist if you're at all concerned.