Adult Teeth Coming In Behind Baby Teeth? Here’s all that you need to know about shark teeth and the related facts!
When your child starts losing his or her baby teeth, it is indeed exciting for the child and you as a parent. It indicates that your child is growing up. However, when there are any hiccups to the normal order or the teeth’ eruption, it can turn slightly concerning.
For example, in over 10% of children, ‘Shark teeth’ are present. These teeth are the adult teeth that come in behind the baby teeth before they fall out. Before we discuss shark teeth, let us discuss the regular adult teeth eruption as well.
How do adult teeth erupt?
There are 20 baby teeth or milk teeth in a child’s jaw, ten in the upper, and ten in the lower jaw. These teeth eventually make way for 32-permanent, adult teeth. Permanent teeth eruption starts at around 6-7 years of age and spans over a period of 7-8 years after this. The last tooth to erupt in adulthood is the ‘Wisdom tooth,’ which erupts between 20-25years of age.
In the jawbone, the permanent teeth begin to develop within the gums, right below the baby teeth. As the permanent tooth forms and matures, it starts erupting by pushing out the baby tooth situated over it.
What is the age at which permanent teeth erupt?
- The first permanent tooth is the molar tooth (two upper and two lower) that erupts around six years of age. These teeth appear behind the existing baby teeth, acting as the last pair of teeth in the jaw.
- The central incisors (two upper and two lower) erupt around the same time. These replace the baby central incisors.
- The lateral incisors (two upper and two lower) follow by erupting at around 7-9 years of age. These replace the lateral baby teeth.
- The canines (two upper and two lower) erupt between 9-12 years of age. These replace the baby canines.
- The second permanent molars (two upper and two lower) erupt between 11-13 years of age and erupt behind the first permanent molar in the jaw.
- The premolars (4 upper and 4 lower) replace the baby molars and erupt between 10-14 years of age.
- The last teeth to erupt are the wisdom teeth (two upper and two lower), which erupt at around 20-25 years of age. However, research shows that these wisdom teeth are becoming obsolete in the upcoming generations due to evolution.
What is ‘Shark Teeth’?
According to Dr. Erica Pitera, ‘Shark teeth’ refers to a double row of teeth in the upper or lower jaw. She further explains that this is a common occurrence in children between 6-7 years of age and corresponds to the permanent teeth erupting behind the baby teeth before they fall off.
Adult Teeth Coming In Behind Baby Teeth
Shark teeth occur commonly due to overcrowding or malpositioning of the developing permanent tooth below the baby tooth. This leads to the baby tooth not being pushed out on time and hence, both the baby and permanent teeth to be present on the jaw at the same time. This occurrence is commonly seen in the lower front teeth.
What can you do about shark teeth?
In almost every instance, shark teeth do not cause any pain. Things that you can do about shark teeth are:
- When you notice permanent teeth erupting in the jaw before the baby teeth fall off, encourage your child to mobilize slowly and loosen the baby teeth. You can achieve this by gentle, side to side movement of the primary teeth. This will allow the faster loosening and falling off of the baby’s teeth.
- Waiting for 3-6 months post the shark teeth appearance is usually enough time to allow the baby teeth to fall off on its own without any active intervention.
- Your child should maintain good oral hygiene by brushing his/her teeth twice a day or rinsing the mouth after every meal. This is essential because failure to maintain good oral hygiene can result in food particles lodging between these two rows of teeth and leads to gum infection, inflammation, and the potential need for a dentist to intervene.
- Take your child to the dentist if the shark teeth are causing pain, discomfort, or are retained over six months. The dentist will then decide to either remove the baby teeth that are retained or advise you to wait it out until they fall on their own.