Shark Teeth

Posted on by Dr. Robert Axelrad (Brampton Dentist)

Shark teeth

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It’s quite possible that you may look into your child’s (6-8 years of age) mouth and see two rows of teeth. This is most apparent in the lower front part of the mouth. Most parents get pretty upset about this, but let me reassure you, it’s not a big problem.

The precise dental term is not shark teeth. It’s called Ectopic Tooth Eruption or in the case of the lower front teeth, ‘lingually erupting mandibular incisors’.

What does this mean?
The concept is quite simple. Picture this: the primary (baby) teeth are anchored into the bone in the same way in which the adult teeth are…via their roots.

As seen in the previous blog, under normal circumstances, the adult teeth ‘resorb’ or eat away at the roots of the baby teeth. If there are no roots holding the baby teeth in, then they become loose and fall out. This is the normal course of tooth eruption in the mouth.

As the adult teeth grow, they are ‘programmed’ to follow a certain path such that they eat away at the roots of the primary teeth.

However, in a small % of cases (that being 10%), the adult teeth deviate from this path. They actually erupt in another direction. When this occurs it is called Ectopic Tooth Eruption.

If the roots of the primary teeth never get eaten away, they will remain anchored in the jaw bone.

What should be done?
In most cases, the standard of treatment is to remove the primary tooth. This is a pretty simple procedure and quite uneventful for the child.

Once the primary tooth is removed, then there will be space for the adult tooth and it will move forward into it. By removing the primary tooth, we are potentially avoiding future crowding problems in the child’s mouth.

It’s very important that the adult teeth have enough room in the dental arch as they each erupt into the mouth; if not, you can end up with issues of crowding.

On the flip side of this, what also occurs quite frequently is that a baby tooth may fall out too early. This may happen because the tooth is extremely decayed or infected and can’t be saved.

When this happens, we need to preserve the space left behind, until the adult tooth is ready to erupt into the arch. We do this with a Space Maintainer.

Stay tuned to learn more…

Next time your child wiggles their ‘baby’ tooth, you’ll know the reason why.

Get to know Dr. Axelrad and make your child’s dental visit a positive experience. Call us today at (905) 791-3867 or visit us at Bestgate Professional Center, 40 Finchgate Boulevard, Suite 121, Brampton, Ontario. Walk-ins and Emergencies are welcome.

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