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Permanent Teeth Behind Baby Teeth: What’s Going On?

If you notice that your human child’s teeth are starting to resemble a shark’s, there’s no need to panic. This is a pretty common problem in children losing and growing their teeth! It can look a little scary, but it’s very easy to treat, and there are hardly ever ongoing problems.

What’s Happening?

Most kids start to lose their baby teeth and grow permanent teeth between the ages of five and seven. When a permanent tooth erupts directly underneath a baby tooth—like it’s supposed to—it resorbes the root of the baby tooth, causing it to loosen and eventually fall out. Sometimes, however, the permanent tooth won’t grow directly underneath the baby tooth. When this happens, it’s usually right behind the baby tooth, giving them a shark-like look. When this happens, the root of the baby tooth stays intact and won’t fall out.

This mostly occurs in the lower and upper front teeth, although it can happen anywhere.

What to Do

If you notice that your child has a tooth behind a tooth, the first thing you can do is check to see if the front tooth is loose. If it’s very loose, encourage your child to work on loosening it further—it’s always best if they can get it out themselves.

If it’s only a little bit loose, or not loose at all, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a dentist or orthodontist. They’ll probably have to get the tooth pulled out to make room for the permanent tooth coming in. Once the baby tooth has been removed, the permanent tooth will naturally move forward to take its place. If your child has moderate to severe crowding, they may not have room for their permanent tooth! This is not a problem, but they may need to get that tooth pulled as well.

If your child’s tooth behind a tooth is in the lower or upper front teeth, there’s a good chance that it will happen with the other front tooth right next to it. Because of this, it may be best to wait until both teeth have started coming in before taking your child to get a consultation—otherwise they might have to get teeth pulled twice!

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact LeCroy Dental today!