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The Ugly Duckling Phase

Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, are the first teeth to arrive. These teeth can appear at any time between the ages of four and eight, usually arriving at around five or six. Holding space for permanent teeth that arrive a bit later, the roots of these teeth are slowly dissolved by the permanent teeth as they erupt. Once the root has dissolved, the baby tooth is no longer attached and falls out on its own. The permanent tooth can then erupt in the space left by the baby tooth.

In most cases, the permanent teeth will push up right underneath the root of the baby tooth, which loosens before it falls out. If the permanent tooth pushes out anywhere else, such as behind the baby tooth, for example, what happens is that both the permanent and baby tooth can be visible at the same time, often in a row. This is often called ‘shark teeth’ as it resembles the double row of teeth seen in sharks. Although this can look very scary for parents, the condition is very common and seldom becomes an issue. Keep reading to find out more about how to deal with adult teeth appearing while baby teeth are still present.

How to Treat This Common Baby Teeth Concern

First of all, don’t panic. Many children will have adult and baby teeth present at the same time and the problem usually resolves itself on its own. If this happens, it will most likely take place at one of two developmental points – at the age of six when permanent lower incisors erupt or around the age of 11, when upper back molars erupt. Many parents panic at the sight of two rows of teeth. To give you some peace of mind, here are our tips on how to deal with this issue.

Try not to worry.

We know it is natural for parents to be concerned. If you are truly worried, take your child to a good child-friendly dentist in Durban such as Gateway Dental. This will help to reassure you that there are no issues present. Your dentist will do an examination to check that everything is fine. The dentist may suggest waiting to see what happens if the tooth is still very solid. X-rays may be done to see how much root of the baby tooth remains. Often, the tooth will fall out on its own in a week or few. If a lot of root remains, your dentist may decide to remove the baby tooth.

Do a wiggle test.

Before you head off to the dentist, you can also try a wiggle test to see whether the baby tooth is already starting to loosen. If the tooth appears loose or it moves to the touch, it is worth waiting a few days to see if the tooth comes out naturally. Likewise, if you can see that the adult teeth have arrived and the tooth has some wiggle room, there is a very high chance that everything will resolve itself without a trip to the dentist.

We hope that this helps to relieve some of your worries. Remember, if you ever have any concerns, no matter how big or small, we are always happy to book an appointment to do an examination. Our practice caters to patients of all ages, with child-friendly dental rooms that are equipped to make the process as stress-free as possible. Contact us today to chat more about baby teeth concerns and get the peace of mind you need.