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Everything You Need to Know About Rows of Teeth in Kids

March 18, 2021

Have you noticed a second set of pearly whites coming in behind your child’s baby teeth? While startling at first, this phenomenon is not usually anything to worry about. Rows of teeth in kids are called shark teeth, since sharks also develop a second set of teeth behind the first. Thankfully, shark teeth in children are almost always easy to manage and very rarely cause any lasting problems. Read on as we go over everything you need to know about keeping your little one’s smile if they have shark teeth.

The Cause of Shark Teeth

The teeth that are coming in behind your child’s baby teeth are their permanent teeth. Of course, normally, these adult teeth would erupt in the space where a baby tooth was once it’s fallen out. As a permanent tooth grows and begins to push towards the surface of the gums, it dissolves the roots of the baby tooth above it, which eventually causes it to fall out. Shark teeth develop when something doesn’t quite go as planned during this process. Sometimes, the roots of the baby teeth simply won’t dissolve. Other times, the permanent tooth may come in at a slight angle, which wouldn’t weaken the primary tooth’s roots. In either case, the permanent tooth would then need to come up behind the baby tooth, forming a row of teeth.

When to Be on the Lookout for Shark Teeth

Shark teeth are not very common, but you should still keep an eye out for them just in case. They can occur at any time when your child’s permanent teeth are coming in, but studies show that there are two main periods where shark teeth are the most likely to happen. The first is around the age of six, when a child’s lower front permanent teeth begin to come in. The second phase is around the age of 11, when the upper back molars begin to appear. When a shark tooth develops in a front tooth, it’s likely that the same will happen for the front tooth right next to it.

What to Do About Two Rows of Teeth in Kids

If your child has shark teeth, don’t panic! Oftentimes, rows of teeth can be easily and safely managed at home. First, check to see if the remaining baby tooth is loose or not. If it is, encourage your child to wiggle it! Hopefully, they will be able to help it fall out without any extra intervention. Then, the permanent tooth will naturally shift into its proper position in the empty space as it continues to come in.

If the tooth is not loose, or if it is painful to move or touch, you’ll need to call your pediatric dentist for help. These situations may resolve themselves, but they also may become more painful for your child over time. Your pediatric dentist will examine the tooth and take X-rays to get a full picture of how the teeth are developing. They’ll be able to determine if the baby tooth is likely to come out on its own or if it needs to be extracted.

While somewhat alarming to see at first, two rows of teeth is not something that should cause too much concern. If you are ever concerned or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatric dentist for advice.

About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in caring for children’s smiles, you can rest assured that your child’s oral health is in good hands with Dr. Tera Polluck of Rowlett Dental Kids. She is passionate about making dental care fun, relaxing, and engaging for the growing smiles of Rowlett with personalized treatments and a focus on comfort. If your child needs to have a shark tooth extracted, she offers safe sedation dentistry options to help them feel at ease the entire time. To learn more, she can be contacted via her website or at (469) 284-8895  

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