At Atlanta Pediatric Dental Specialists, we love to watch our patients as they grow. A child's first loose tooth brings such excitement and anticipation to all. Sometimes, we get calls from worried parents because their child has suddenly developed a double row of teeth. It may look odd, but it isn’t a dental emergency. The technical term is ectopic eruption, but we often refer to these teeth as "shark teeth" in the office!
Ectopic eruption happens when the lower baby teeth haven’t fallen out yet, but the permanent teeth erupt anyway. It’s a fairly common occurrence, affecting approximately one in 10 children.
Most of the time, an ectopic eruption will resolve on its own, without intervention. The baby tooth eventually falls out and the tongue will push the permanent tooth forward into proper position. Dr. Krieger and generally tell patients “If the baby tooth is floppy, loose and not causing discomfort, encourage the child to have the satisfaction of wiggling the tooth out on their own. If the baby tooth is held in solidly, or causing discomfort—or it has been longer than a couple weeks without change it's time for the dentist to help the baby tooth out.