Teeth Growing Behind Milk Teeth: What Parents Need to Know

At Leominster Family Dentists, we understand that, as a parent, seeing your child’s adult teeth growing in behind their baby teeth can be a bit alarming. Rest assured, this is a common occurrence and typically nothing to worry about. Our team in Leominster, MA, is here to provide you with the information you need to understand this phase of your child’s dental development.

Why Do Teeth Grow Behind Milk Teeth?

Teeth growing behind milk teeth, often referred to as “shark teeth,” occur when the permanent teeth start to erupt before the primary teeth have fallen out. This can happen for a few reasons:

  1. Timing Mismatch: Sometimes, the timing of the permanent teeth coming in and the baby teeth falling out doesn’t align perfectly. This is most common around the ages of 5 to 7.
  2. Lack of Root Resorption: Baby teeth roots typically dissolve (resorb) to allow for easy removal. If resorption doesn’t happen quickly enough, the permanent teeth can start to push through behind the baby teeth.
  3. Crowding or Lack of Space: In some cases, there might not be enough space for the permanent teeth to emerge in the correct position, causing them to grow behind the baby teeth.

What Should You Do if You Notice This?

Seeing “shark teeth” can be concerning, but here’s what you can do:

  1. Monitor the Situation: In many cases, the baby teeth will eventually become loose and fall out on their own. This process can take a few weeks to a couple of months.
  2. Encourage Natural Loosening: Encourage your child to wiggle the baby teeth gently to help them along. Eating crunchy foods like apples can also aid in this process.
  3. Consult with Your Pediatric Dentist: If the baby teeth do not become loose or fall out within a few months, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist. We can assess the situation and determine if any intervention is needed.

Possible Interventions

While most cases resolve naturally, there are instances where professional intervention is required:

  1. Extraction of Baby Teeth: If the baby teeth are particularly stubborn, our dentist may recommend a simple extraction to make room for the permanent teeth.
  2. Space Maintainers: In some cases, especially if multiple baby teeth are involved, space maintainers might be needed to ensure the permanent teeth have enough room to come in correctly.
  3. Orthodontic Evaluation: Early orthodontic evaluation can help identify potential crowding or alignment issues and provide a plan to address them as your child grows.

Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups

Regular dental check-ups are crucial during your child’s development. Our team at Leominster Family Dentists is committed to monitoring your child’s oral health and development, ensuring any issues like “shark teeth” are addressed promptly and effectively.

Contact Us

Teeth growing behind milk teeth can be a normal part of childhood development, but it’s always best to keep an eye on the situation and consult with our pediatric dentistry team if you have concerns. At Leominster Family Dentists, we are here to support you and your child through every stage of their dental journey. Schedule an appointment with us today to ensure your child’s smile stays healthy and bright!

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Front entrance of Leominster Family Dentists

Leominster Family Dentists

81 West Street
Leominster, MA 01453
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Monday & Tuesday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (alternating)