Every child awaits the coming of the tooth fairy, but what does it mean when the adult tooth comes in while the baby tooth remains in place? Is a double row of teeth normal? What should you do?
This can happen if your child’s baby tooth root is not dissolved when the new tooth comes in. This problem is actually fairly common, and your child is not alone. Luckily, Dr. Crump with Boise Family Dental Care has years of experience that can help.
If you have concerns, read on to learn more about why some baby teeth fall out and some don’t. We’ll help you choose the right next steps to ensure that your child’s smile is healthy for life.
What Happens to the Baby Tooth Root?
The roots of baby teeth have two very important jobs. The first is to keep your child’s baby teeth anchored to the gums until their permanent teeth emerge. The second is to hold space in the mouth for those permanent teeth so they will have a place to go.
When it’s time for permanent teeth to come in, those “space savers” are no longer needed. If you’ve ever seen a baby tooth fall out naturally, however, you’ll realize that the root is never attached. Typically, the root dissolves long before the tooth fairy has a chance to come and collect!
The process that causes the teeth in a child’s mouth to loosen and become “wiggly” is known as exfoliation. When adults hear the term, it probably brings to mind treatments to clear pores and dead skin. It is also the term that refers to what happens to the baby tooth root in a typical child’s mouth.
Exfoliation takes place when the new adult tooth begins to push down on the baby tooth. In most cases, the bottom of the adult tooth will come in direct contact with the root of the baby tooth. The new adult tooth then dissolves the roots of the baby tooth below.
As the root becomes fragile, the tooth will begin to wiggle. When the root dissolves completely, the tooth falls out.
This is why baby teeth tend to have a sharp or jagged appearance after they fall out. The jagged part of the tooth is where the root used to attach. The exfoliation process is efficient, not neat, so it rarely leaves a perfectly level surface behind.
Why Does My Child Have Two Rows of Teeth?
Sometimes the exfoliation process does not go as planned. For example, the new adult tooth might not line up with the root of the baby tooth. If the root is not dissolved, the baby tooth will not fall out.
When this happens, the new adult tooth will try to erupt anyway. This is why you sometimes see “double row shark teeth” in children’s mouths. The adult tooth has erupted behind the baby tooth without dissolving the root, leaving two teeth in one space.
Double row teeth are most common in children between six and seven years old. It particularly affects the lower front teeth. This can happen to any tooth, however, and at any age.
The real name of this phenomenon is “ectopic eruption,” and it is fairly common. Sometimes the baby teeth will still loosen on their own and fall out without intervention. Other times, more intervention may be necessary.
What Should I Do if the Baby Tooth Root Is Not Dissolved?
The first thing to do if you notice an ectopic eruption is to have your child wiggle the baby tooth. If the tooth seems loose, the root might still dissolve. In those cases, the tooth will often fall out on its own and the adult tooth will be able to take over that space.
If the tooth seems firmly anchored to the gums, however, it may be time to make an appointment at Boise Family Dental Care. Dr. Crump will be able to evaluate your child’s specific situation and advise a course of action.
In some cases, the advice will be to give the tooth some time and see if it becomes loose eventually. In other cases, an extraction might be the best decision. The least invasive option will always be the first course of action.
Why Might Extraction Be Necessary?
If extraction is recommended, there is a good reason. A failure to address the issue in childhood can lead to the need for time-consuming or painful treatments down the line. With the excellent care provided by Dr. Crump at Boise Family Dental Care, you can avoid this!
One scenario involves the roots of the adult teeth attaching too low in the gum. We call that gingival recession and it can lead to root exposure and aesthetic issues. A child with gingival recession might require gum grafting surgery in the future.
Another scenario requires orthodontic intervention. Because baby teeth remain in place, the adult teeth have nowhere to go. When they go wherever they fit, it can lead to crooked teeth, crowding, bite problems, and aesthetic issues.
The extraction of baby teeth is a comparatively simple procedure. The roots of baby teeth are short and meant to come out. Dr. Crump will give the stubborn baby tooth a little encouragement to make sure that everything falls into place as intended!
Boise Family Dental Care Will Sort Out Your Smile
All children are unique, and their mouths are no exception. If a baby tooth root is not dissolved, it doesn’t need to lead to long-term issues. Dr. Crump is an experienced practitioner and is happy to advise you on the best course of action.
Even when teeth fall out on their own, regular dental checkups are an important aspect of lifelong dental care. Preventative dentistry can ensure that your child’s smile is developing as it should. When was your child’s last appointment?
Today is the perfect day to schedule your appointment online and come in for a cleaning. Dr. Crump and the rest of the team can’t wait to see your smile!