Baby Shark Tooth: When Should You Be Worried?

Baby Shark Tooth: When Should You Be Worried?

Did you know that sharks can have about 50 to 300 or more working teeth at any point in their lives? Or that these sharp, jagged pearly whites form two up to 15 rows of teeth per jaw? This means these amazing animals can have at least dozens of teeth on the upper jaw and another set on the lower jaw!

That’s normal for sharks but not for humans.

The thing is, some children can get a baby shark tooth, too, making them look like they have two rows of teeth. Although it’s common and may look odd, it’s not always a cause of concern.

This guide will cover everything you, as a parent, must know about these shark-like extra teeth in kids, so read on.

What Is a Baby Shark Tooth?

A baby shark tooth is a primary (deciduous) tooth that grows above or behind another tooth. Oral healthcare specialists refer to this as an accessory or supernumerary tooth. Hyperdontia, in turn, is the term used to refer to the condition wherein these extra teeth grow in the mouth.

Keep in mind that children usually only go through 20 primary teeth. The process of baby teeth coming in (eruption) can begin as early as six months old.

Then, at age five to seven, the baby teeth often start to fall out. Dentists refer to this phase of the baby teeth order of development as “shedding.” Shedding of the deciduous teeth occurs so that the permanent teeth have a place to grow.

However, some factors, such as genetic disorders or jaw problems, may cause baby teeth not to fall out. Conversely, the problem may be with the improper development of permanent teeth.

Either way, when primary teeth fail to shed, other teeth may come in or grow on top of or under them. As a result, the baby teeth that should’ve fallen out become “extras,” resembling shark teeth.

How Common Is Hyperdontia?

According to researchers, supernumerary primary teeth have a prevalence rate of 0.3% to 0.6%. In permanent teeth, the rate is between 0.1% to 3.8%. It also seems that extra teeth are more common in people of Asian descent.

When Are Extra Baby Teeth Not a Cause of Concern?

If the baby shark tooth is loose, as in if it wiggles even just a bit, then it’s not usually a cause of concern. That’s because the tooth’s movement is a sign that it would fall off at some point. It also indicates that the permanent tooth is pushing the baby tooth out.

As the permanent tooth erupts, it causes the roots of the primary tooth to dissolve. Then, once there’s too little root structure to support the baby tooth, it should then fall off.

When Should You Worry About Baby Shark Teeth Then?

If the baby shark tooth doesn’t move at all, it may be best to bring your little one to a dentist. The same goes if both the primary and permanent teeth are almost of the same height.

In those cases, the adult tooth may have failed to dissolve enough of the baby tooth’s roots. So, instead of falling out, the shark tooth moved toward the front or the back of the gum line.

Another possibility is that the extra tooth came from a permanent tooth bud that split. As a result, two teeth grew from the divided buds.

There are also some cases wherein the shark tooth is an odontoma, a type of benign tumor. The tumor itself consists of irregular formations of dental tissue. Although non-cancerous, the tissues can still cause dental anomalies.

In some situations, extra teeth don’t cause any pain at all. However, they may still cause problems with biting, chewing, or even speaking. If the tooth protrudes too much, it may also cut the mouth, especially if it has a jagged or pointed end.

The shark teeth may also be difficult to brush or floss properly, giving rise to dental caries. Now, keep in mind that tooth decay is prevalent in children, affecting about 20% of US kids aged 5 to 11. So, if the cavity occurs in an extra tooth, it needs treatment right away, as the damage can spread to other teeth.

If your little one exhibits any of those signs, reach out to a children’s dentist as soon as possible.

How Will the Dentist Treat the Shark Tooth?

First, the oral healthcare specialist will inspect your child’s mouth. The dentist will also ask your child about symptoms like pain or issues with biting or chewing.

The specialist would likely need to take an oral X-ray, too. Doing so will help the dentist check for any other extra teeth that may not have erupted yet.

If the shark tooth is behind the failed eruption of an adult tooth, the dentist may need to pull it out. Otherwise, the permanent tooth may become impacted and cause more pain in your little one.

The dentist may also recommend extracting the extra tooth if it causes overcrowding. That’s because overcrowded teeth may lead to malocclusions. Malocclusions, in turn, can result in a bad bite that children may carry into their adulthood.

If your child has dental anxiety or fear, the dentist may recommend sedation. In this case, your little one may take an oral, FDA-approved sedative. An alternative is nitrous oxide (laughing gas), administered through inhalation.

Those sedatives are safe and can help your little one relax before the extraction. As a result, your child may feel calm enough to cooperate as the dentist injects the anesthesia. The anesthesia, in turn, ensures that your child won’t feel any pain during the treatment.

Consider Treatment if Your Baby’s Shark Tooth Is in the Way

As you can see, a baby shark tooth isn’t always a cause of concern, especially not if it wiggles. However, you should still ask your little one if they feel any discomfort or pain. If they do, or the extra tooth doesn’t appear to be mobile, then it’s time to schedule a dentist appointment.

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Marisa Lascala

Marisa Lascala is a admin of https://meregate.com/. She is a blogger, writer, managing director, and SEO executive. She loves to express her ideas and thoughts through her writings. She loves to get engaged with the readers who are seeking informative content on various niches over the internet. meregateofficial@gmail.com