By what name do you know this condition? Perhaps shark teeth sound familiar and also a bit apt and descriptive. In orthodontics, this occurrence is referred to as ectopic eruption and it means that the patient has two rows of teeth instead of one.
What is this condition exactly?
Do Only Children Experience this Phenomenon? Or Adults Too?
Let’s first clarify the subject.
In dentistry you’ll find two separate conditions:
- Shark Teeth/Two Rows of Teeth/Ectopic eruption: This takes place when a child’s permanent teeth erupt while the baby teeth are still in place.
- Hyperdontia: In this oral condition people have more than the average number of permanent teeth. The extra teeth are referred to as supernumerary teeth and can push through the gums at any place in the gum line. This could create two rows of teeth in adults. Rarely, supernumerary teeth distribution is completely random and could even occur on the roof of the mouth.
Therefore the two rows of teeth discussed here mostly relate to children: The presence of baby teeth along with permanent ones.
Why Do Two Rows of Teeth Occur?
The two rows are formed when permanent teeth push through the gums (erupt) in the wrong place. Usually, the permanent tooth is supposed to resorb the baby tooth’s root. As it disintegrates the baby tooth will loosen and eventually fall out.
When the permanent tooth makes an entrance just behind the milk tooth there’s nothing to resorb the root so the baby tooth stays in place, at least longer than it’s supposed to. As a result, you end up with two rows of teeth.
A common reason is crowding of teeth in the mouth which forces permanent teeth into unnatural positions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Painful?
There isn’t any pain involved, but the person could experience certain discomfort. During the growth of the permanent teeth, sensitivity could increase and make eating hard foods more difficult.
Is it Dangerous?
There are no immediate oral health dangers associated with this condition. The biggest concern is how it will affect the alignment of the teeth in the future. If the baby tooth doesn’t fall out fast enough the permanent one could be skew or out of place.
Is it Common?
It happens more often than you think and a high number of children visit dentists with this condition. Dentists note that it’s one of the most prominent ‘emergencies’ parents take their children to the dentist for. There is really no need to panic at all since it can easily be remedied.
It is most likely to occur with the lower front teeth. Interestingly enough, whenever the second row of teeth grows on one side of the mouth, it will likely happen on the other side as well.
How Is Ectopic Eruption Treated?
It doesn’t pose a medical risk but you need to keep an eye on the situation.
You can ask your dentist to extract the tooth or monitor it at home. Wiggle the baby tooth more than you normally would so that it will loosen faster.
While the baby tooth is still in the child’s mouth the permanent one can’t take up its proper place. If it doesn’t budge, you should ask a dentist to remove it.
If the permanent tooth grows in the wrong position the child will require additional assistance—such as orthodontics—later on.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.