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Baby teeth not falling out before adult teeth

In our first article in this series, we answered some of the questions we often receive from parents who are concerned about how their kids adult teeth are developing.

Sometimes when your child’s adult teeth are developing, weird stuff can happen! Here we talk about shark teeth – when adult teeth come through behind baby teeth, leaving two rows of teeth.

My son is five and has a tooth coming up behind his bottom baby teeth. Should I be worried?

What happens if my child's baby teeth don't fall out before adult teethThe way that baby teeth are lost is when the root of the tooth is eaten away by the erupting permanent tooth underneath it, the baby tooth falls out, then the new tooth pushes through the gum into the empty spot. Sometimes if permanent teeth don’t erupt through the middle of the baby teeth, then the baby teeth will still have a perfectly normal root.

In the clinic, we call this retained baby teeth or what’s also known as shark teeth. This is when the deciduous baby teeth don’t make way for the permanent adult teeth, so the new teeth find a different place in the jaw to erupt. They might go inside or outside the baby teeth, or they might come out sideways. This isn’t abnormal.

Although retained baby teeth are most common with the lower incisors, they can also happen when the upper incisors or canine teeth (the pointy ones) come through.

Will the baby teeth eventually fall out? Or will you need to pull them out?

Sometimes we give them a bit of time to see if they just fall out. But if the baby teeth are rock solid, we usually have to remove them.

As a rule, we don’t like extracting the baby teeth, but in some cases we just have to. Often, an indication of whether we’ll extract baby teeth is to ask: will this make room for the permanent teeth to come through properly? Sometimes it’s beneficial to remove the baby teeth because if we can encourage the permanent teeth to erupt appropriately, it will minimise the chance of orthodontic treatment.

Other weird places their baby teeth can grow out?

Some children’s canine teeth come through really high up in their cheek, so we call them fangs or vampire teeth! Clinically, this is termed ectopically erupting teeth, which simply means the teeth are erupting where they’re not supposed to be.

If you’d like us to check out your child’s baby teeth or you just have questions about their dental health, please contact Today’s Dentistry reception team on 07 3263 2677 or book an appointment online.

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