A permanent tooth may sometimes erupt in front of an existing baby tooth, creating a double row of teeth that resembles that of a shark; hence, this condition is known as “shark tooth.” Shark tooth is something that’s relatively common especially during the mixed dentition stage. It is a source of concern for most kids and parents. But before you do anything, it is always wise to consult your dentist first to determine if the baby tooth needs to be extracted or if it is better to just let it fall off naturally.
When will permanent teeth erupt and replace the baby tooth? The first baby tooth erupts at the 6th month of life. At about age 5 to 7, baby teeth start to fall out one by one.
Learn more about the eruption schedules of both the baby teeth and permanent teeth through these charts from the American Dental Association:
Sometimes, this eruption schedule is not followed. The permanent teeth erupt earlier than they’re supposed to, while the baby teeth are retained longer that they should. This results in the “shark tooth” effect. In this case, the permanent tooth is already visible in the mouth and connected to its nerve supply, and the baby tooth is no longer active.
Over-retained baby teeth serve as a food and debris trap that may result in the decay not only of the tooth itself, but of the nearby teeth as well. Consult your trusted dentist if you think that your kid is at high risk for:
The treatment of choice for shark teeth is extraction of the over-retained baby tooth to allow the permanent tooth to move into its proper position. Baby tooth extraction typically costs anywhere from $90 to $150.
If there’s not enough space for the permanent tooth to move in, your dentist may also remove some enamel from the other baby teeth. This procedure is known as disking.
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