Scheduling regular dental exams is an important part of maintaining the overall health of everyone in your family. Seeing your dentist every six months is the best way for adults and children to prevent or detect cavities, review proper oral hygiene and receive a professional cleaning.
However, a lot of shifting, growing and developing can occur inside the mouth even during the short amount of time between these visits. If your child suddenly starts to complain of an oral ache or an irritation, and you take a look only to discover that a second row of sharks teeth is popping through the surface behind the front row, rest assured that this is not an uncommon occurrence.
Sharks teeth in children is a dental condition that occurs when one of the adult teeth erupts, breaking the surface, and the baby tooth that it is intended to replace remains rooted.
Its namesake derives from the anatomy of an actual shark's mouth. They develop anywhere from 5 to 15 rows of teeth due to their evolutionary needs as a predatory species of fish. When sharks lose one of their teeth, the next one is already developed and ready to move forward.
Of course, this is not the way that human teeth emerge, but it accurately depicts the concept behind the condition.
Permanent teeth, also referred to as adult teeth, are typically scheduled to naturally erupt in children between the ages of 5 and 7. When this order is followed, the permanent tooth dissolves the root of the baby tooth, causing it to loosen and eventually fall out. This process provides the erupting permanent tooth with the necessary space that it needs to properly grow and develop.
There are, however, two possible causes for sharks teeth in children to emerge:
1. The permanent tooth grows in a direction that angles behind the baby tooth as opposed to directly underneath it
2. The root of the baby tooth does not dissolve in the manner or at the speed that it is supposed to
Until all of the baby teeth have fallen out and all of the permanent teeth have filled in, there is still the potential that your child could develop a shark tooth. The most common window for this to occur, though, is when the bottom row of teeth begins to come in, which is usually around the age of 6. The other timeframe is around the age of 11 when the rear upper molars begin to emerge.
Sharks teeth in children are not usually a cause for great concern. In many cases, the baby tooth that stands in the way eventually falls out on its own or can be pulled out if it becomes loose enough. Aside from mild discomfort, their presence in your child's mouth does not pose any immediate dangers.
If after several weeks the baby tooth that is blocking the way for the adult tooth does not show any signs of loosening, or if the irritation is more than your child can tolerate, schedule an appointment with us at our Honolulu or Lihue locations.
We will closely inspect the condition of the affected baby and permanent teeth to determine what kinds of dental interventions are necessary and in your child's best interests.