Unveiling the Mystery of "Shark Teeth" in Kids

Unveiling the Mystery of "Shark Teeth" in Kids
Posted on 04/01/2024

April blog - Child with their mouth open while being examined by a dentist.Shark teeth are a phenomenon that parents of young children may encounter as their little ones begin to lose their baby teeth. In the world of pediatric dentistry, it's a fairly common occurrence, but it can be surprising and even alarming if you don’t understand what’s happening.

In this blog post, we're going to take a look into the topic of shark teeth, providing you with the knowledge to keep your child’s transition from baby to adult teeth as smooth as possible.

What Are "Shark Teeth" and Why Do They Occur?

"Shark teeth" is a colloquial term that refers to the phenomenon where adult teeth start to come in behind the baby teeth, often before the latter has fallen out. It's a sight quite reminiscent of those fearsome predator rows: two rows of teeth coexisting in a single mouth. This condition is also known as "lingually erupted lower incisors."

The underlying cause of shark teeth is when the permanent tooth that usually sprouts behind the baby tooth does not reabsorb the root of the primary tooth as it erupts. The new tooth’s pressure forces the primary tooth to become loose, but it may not fall out immediately, leading to a temporary double set of pearly whites.

Prevalence and Age of Occurrence

Shark teeth are most commonly seen when children start to lose their baby teeth and develop their adult set. The incisors, the first teeth in the front of the mouth, are typically the first to come in, so parents often notice the shark teeth in this area.

This may sound alarming, but in reality, shark teeth occur in a small percentage of children. It’s a natural part of the transition, but it can cause discomfort and oral hygiene complications if not managed properly.

Tips for Managing Shark Teeth in Your Child

Monitor, but Don't Panic

If you see a shark tooth situation, resist immediate panic. This is one of those child development quirks that many encounter, and most of the time, it resolves itself. If the baby tooth isn’t very loose and the new tooth isn't causing pain, chances are it will correct itself over time.

Encourage Wiggling

Wiggling the baby tooth can help speed up the process and ensure the permanent tooth has a clear path. Encourage your child to gently wiggle the tooth with their tongue or clean hands. If it’s not budging, don’t force it; schedule a dental visit.

Do Not Pull the Tooth Out


While it might be tempting to yank out the baby tooth to make way for the permanent one, it’s crucial to allow the process to happen naturally. Pulling the tooth out too early can lead to complications and, surprisingly, can delay the eruption of the adult tooth.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Having two teeth in one spot can make it more challenging to clean teeth thoroughly. Help your child to ensure regular brushing and flossing to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Ensure that your child has regular dental check-ups. A dentist's experience and guidance are invaluable for preventing and managing dental issues, including shark teeth.

Understanding the common dental occurrences that happen during the growth of your child is an essential part of parenting. While shark teeth can be unsettling, remember that they’re typically part of a natural developmental phase and usually resolve on their own.

Do you still have questions or concerns about shark teeth in kids? Reach out to the experts at Dentistry for Children & Adolescents. We can provide tailored advice and, if needed, the appropriate treatment options for your child.

Every stage of childhood brings new adventures, even those involving teeth. By staying informed and involved in your child's dental care, you're not only ensuring their health but also building trust and confidence that will serve you both well on your parenting voyage.


Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

  • Edina Office - 7373 France Ave. S., Suite 402, Edina, MN 55435 Phone: 952-831-4400
  • Burnsville Office - 14050 Nicollet Ave., Suite 100, Burnsville, MN 55337 Phone: 952-435-4102
  • Eden Prairie Office - 6385 Old Shady Oak Road, Suite 150, Eden Prairie , MN 55344 Phone: 952-932-0920

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