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What To Do If Your Child’s Permanent Teeth Are Growing in Behind Their Baby Teeth

Are you startled by the sight of your little one sporting what seems like two rows of teeth? Before you start worrying, let us walk you through what might be happening. It’s possible that your child is experiencing what we call ectopic teeth, also known as “shark teeth.”


If you’re not familiar with this particular condition, we’re here to provide you with all the essential information and guidance to ensure your child’s dental health remains in tip-top shape.


What Are Ectopic Teeth?


Ectopic teeth, commonly referred to as “shark teeth,” can be a perplexing sight for parents. However, it’s important to know that this phenomenon is often a temporary stage in your child’s dental development.


Typically, the emergence of the permanent teeth behind the baby teeth occurs because the roots of the primary teeth haven’t dissolved as expected. As the permanent teeth continue to push through the gums, they can sometimes appear behind the existing baby teeth, creating the illusion of two rows of teeth.


How Common Is It for Permanent Teeth to Grow Behind Baby Teeth?


If your child has ectopic teeth, rest assured that you’re not alone in this scenario. It’s actually quite common for parents to notice their child’s permanent teeth peeking out from behind their baby teeth — a natural developmental process that occurs in many children during their transition from primary to permanent teeth.


Will the New Teeth Stay or Be Harmed If the Baby Teeth Don’t Fall Out?


The good news is that most of the time, the new teeth will move into their proper positions as the baby teeth naturally fall out. However, in some cases, the situation may require professional intervention to prevent any potential harm to the emerging permanent teeth. It’s important to monitor the situation closely to ensure the proper alignment of your child’s growing teeth.


What Are the Treatments/What Will the Dentist Do?


When dealing with ectopic teeth, seeking professional guidance from a pediatric dentist is crucial. A board-certified pediatric dentist, such as those at Bay Area Kids Dentist, can provide tailored solutions to ensure your child’s dental health is on the right track.


Depending on the severity of the condition and the specific needs of your child, our dentists may recommend several treatment options to ensure the proper alignment and development of their teeth. These treatment options may include:

  • Extraction of Stubborn Baby Teeth: In cases where the baby teeth show resistance in naturally falling out, the dentist may recommend extracting these stubborn teeth to create sufficient space for the emerging permanent teeth. We perform this extraction process with precision and care to minimize any discomfort for your child and promote the healthy progression of their dental development.
  • Orthodontic Interventions: If the ectopic teeth have led to misalignment or overcrowding, the dentist may suggest orthodontic interventions to guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. Orthodontic treatments, such as braces or dental appliances, can effectively address misaligned teeth and ensure that your child’s smile develops in a healthy and harmonious manner.
  • Monitoring and Follow-Up Care: Regular monitoring and follow-up appointments with the pediatric dentist are essential to track your child’s dental progress and ensure that the recommended treatments are yielding positive results. Through consistent check-ups and assessments, the dentist can make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan to promote optimal dental health for your child.


What If I Do Nothing/What Should I Do?


Choosing to do nothing could lead to various dental complications that may impact your child’s oral health in the long run. These complications may include:

  • Misalignment Issues: Leaving ectopic teeth unaddressed could result in misaligned or crooked teeth, which may affect your child’s bite and overall dental health. Misaligned teeth can also make it challenging for your child to maintain proper oral hygiene, potentially leading to issues such as cavities and gum disease.
  • Overcrowding: Without timely intervention, ectopic teeth can contribute to overcrowding in your child’s mouth. Overcrowded teeth can make it difficult to clean properly, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay. Additionally, overcrowding can lead to discomfort and difficulty in chewing, affecting your child’s overall oral function.
  • Impacted Teeth: In some cases, the misalignment of ectopic teeth can lead to impaction, where the teeth remain trapped beneath the gum line. Impacted teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection, requiring more invasive and complex dental procedures to address the issue effectively.


To ensure the optimal dental health and well-being of your child, it’s essential to consult a board-certified pediatric dentist as soon as you notice any signs of ectopic teeth. Taking proactive measures can help prevent potential complications and ensure that your child’s dental development progresses smoothly.


Bay Area Kids Dentist: Your Trusted Partner in Pediatric Dental Care


At Bay Area Kids Dentist, our board-certified pediatric dentists specialize in providing top-notch dental care for children in a comfortable and welcoming environment. With our expertise and gentle approach, we ensure that your child receives the best possible care for their dental concerns.


We offer our services at four convenient Bay Area locations — Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, and Fremont — to cater to your family’s needs. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us to address any dental worries you may have.


Help your child achieve a confident and healthy smile with the guidance of our dedicated team at Bay Area Kids Dentist. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward ensuring your child’s dental well-being.


Visit our website to learn more about our services and locations. We look forward to welcoming you and your little one to our practice!