My daughter has a shark tooth!
December 5, 2011 5:13 PM   Subscribe

My daughter may be a shark! Dental question inside:

My 7-year-old daughter has an adult tooth that has grown in behind her bottom left center baby tooth. She has lost no baby teeth yet, and the corresponding tooth isn't loose in any way.

Have any of you or any of your children had a dental situation like this? What was the outcome? Did you have to have the baby tooth extracted?

Complicating factor: we are on Badgercare (state Medicaid) and it is a living nightmare to get in with a dentist. My secondary question is this: is this something that's emergent enough that we need to be getting her in with someone and paying out-of-pocket? (My husband is unemployed, I am under-employed, this would have to be a very serious last-ditch scenario) Or, do I just keep trying to get her in with someone through Badgercare? Her doctor was noncommittal about the severity of the situation when we were at her well-child exam today.
posted by altopower to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just went through this. At her first dental appointment with one tooth, they said - don't worry, check back in 6 months. 6 months later, they said - don't worry - brush well and try to get her to wiggle the baby teeth and check back in 6 months. 6 months later, they pulled her 8 front teeth (4 top, 4 bottom). She recovered from the pulling (general anesthesia) very quickly.
posted by plinth at 5:16 PM on December 5, 2011

When I was little I had all of my front baby teeth pulled for this reason. I was known as "Fang" briefly, because I could bare my canines :)

No anathesia was required I don't think, but I can't remember.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:23 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

My son has had several adult teeth grow in behind baby teeth. In all cases but one, the babies eventually loosened and were able to be pulled at home with some effort. We had only one extracted with local anesthetic, after we'd waited several months per dentist's recommendation to see what happened.
posted by theplotchickens at 5:44 PM on December 5, 2011

My daughter had to have a couple baby teeth removed for this exact same reason, at about age 8, I think. Seems fairly common & routine.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:49 PM on December 5, 2011

My nephew had the same issue...with multiple teeth. He had a couple removed at the dentist, but I think that was because they lived out of the country and were only back in town for a short visit.
posted by rvrlvr at 5:53 PM on December 5, 2011

Anecdata: I had my four front bottom teeth pulled because the permanent teeth were coming in. I think I was about nine? They gave me nitrous. I think the concern was that my permanent teeth might come in crooked if they waited for the baby teeth to fall out. The roots came out still attached to the baby teeth, which was gruesomely awesome.

If she's not in pain, I'd just try to get her in with a dentist when possible, it doesn't sound urgent.
posted by momus_window at 5:55 PM on December 5, 2011

Has she been seeing a dentist regularly (ie twice a year) who could have maybe noted this issue? If not, I wouldn't worry too much. I only lost two of my baby teeth naturally. All of my other baby teeth they had to pull out (yay me) because none of them got wiggly. I think she will be fine, but it might happen to some other teeth too, so set up a dentist appointment ASAP but not urgent. Just soon.
posted by fuzzysoft at 6:03 PM on December 5, 2011

This happened to me when I was a kid, with 1 or 2 bottom teeth. They got pulled with local anesthesia, no problem. But my teeth on the bottom were horribly crooked until I got braces -- I assume it's because of the way my adult teeth came in.
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:09 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had a tooth like that when I was a kid. My mother decided not to have it pulled, which resulted in the permanent tooth being pushed out of alignment with the other teeth, towards the inside of my mouth.

Two decades later, the crooked tooth had to be pulled because it was causing problems with the adjacent permanent teeth.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 6:16 PM on December 5, 2011

If you're willing to travel to Madison, I can recommend a dentist who takes badgercare - or at least did the last time I was using it.

Memail me if you like.

To answer your question - it most likely won't cause any real problems. It's possible that some teeth will grow in or become crooked as a result, but that's a possibility anyway. If there is no pain associated with it, take lots of pictures to horrify future prom dates with and don't sweat it. Get it x-rayed when you can to be certain.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:51 PM on December 5, 2011

Both of my bottom front adult teeth started growing in behind my baby teeth, although my baby teeth did fall out on their own. Teeth do all sorts of weird things. It doesn't sound ZOMG emergent, but it's probably a good idea to get her a dental checkup soon anyways.
posted by radioamy at 7:06 PM on December 5, 2011

My daughter's teeth did the same thing. She had two rows on the bottom for a couple months, and pair on the top for almost six months. On the bottom, two adult teeth came in behind, on the top, one came in in front. She has a tooth wiggling on the bottom now, and I fully expect to see an adult tooth sprout somewhere in its vicinity any day now.

The baby teeth fall out eventually and the permanent teeth shift into a more-or-less normal spot. Some people keep baby teeth forever, but our dentist told us that is only ever the case if there is no permanent tooth. If the permanent tooth is pushing through, the baby tooth will be shed eventually. Our dentist also said shark mouth is no predictor of crowding or crookedness, that's all about jaw and tooth size and alignment.

This is what their little heads look like at this age. It's teeth all the way down.
posted by looli at 7:20 PM on December 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

My best friend in early school had this. It's fairly common. Her baby teeth just came out eventually.
posted by Nattie at 7:51 PM on December 5, 2011

I answer this question almost every week.
Baby teeth are made to be lost, and they almost always come out on their own given enough time. permanent teeth will often come in behind the baby incisors at first. once they are long enough the tongue begins to push them forward, helping the baby teeth to go.
Permanent teeth come in their adult size, so really, you want then to come in later, after a few good growth spurts have given the jaw a chance to grow and make room.
Age isn't relevant, teeth come in when they are programmed to come in. sometimes early sometimes late.
Problems arise when the gums around a loose tooth are tender and the child doesn't want to brush, or freaks when they see their own blood. parents should still be brushing teeth at this stage really, or at least helping, to make sure things are kept clean.
Be super proactive with hygiene and prevention, the time and dollars you spend preventing cavities pay huge dividends throughout life.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:01 PM on December 5, 2011

This happened to me twice when I was young. One just sort of grew right under the other and eventually fell off with no pain or problems.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:20 AM on December 6, 2011

All of my teeth came in behind my baby teeth. I wold start saving up money now for some braces when she is older. I always had an issue with losing my teeth, I think I lost my first tooth at 6 and didn't lose my last one until 12. I had my lower canines pulled before they were ready to be pulled under nitrous and the crack when the tooth finally comes out is one of the weirdest sounds I've ever heard in my life because it came from inside my skull. Really freaky. Eventually the permanent teeth pushed the baby ones forward and I had some teeth coming out about 90degrees from my mouth.

I was convinced that I was a dinosaur because I was really into dinosaurs at that age and had just finished reading about one where it kept on growing teeth.
posted by koolkat at 2:34 AM on December 6, 2011

This was covered recently in a related FPP.
posted by arcticseal at 4:25 AM on December 6, 2011

I had doubles of most of my front teeth and this wasn't dealt with until I was 15. It required oral surgery and being out of school for a week. I wouldn't advise waiting that long. Even if it had just been one set of doubles, the amount of bite disruption and even jaw discomfort was enough that it likely should have been dealt with far sooner.

But giving it a few more months and just trying to get in to a dentist in a normal time frame (i.e., in time for the next check-up) should work fine in her case.
posted by batmonkey at 5:22 AM on December 6, 2011

If in Dane County, there are several assistance programs you might contact. This link offers a few possibilities. Good luck.
posted by mcbeth at 6:28 AM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I'm really sort of flabbergasted at how common this seems to be...I'd never heard of this happening before.

She was last at the dentist about a year ago (I know, I know), they took x-rays and didn't seem to think anything was amiss, just that it would be a while before she lost any teeth. I actually have the opposite problem, where I still have 2 baby teeth where there were no adult teeth underneath. Teeth are weird.

I have some new numbers to call today (thanks, P_F and others!), so I'm hoping to get her in sooner rather than later.
posted by altopower at 7:00 AM on December 6, 2011

My father-in-law does have shark teeth like that - his baby teech simply moved back and his permanent teeth grew in. Now he has two rows of upper teeth and his lower teeth slot in between them. Weird! But not an issue.
posted by Coffeemate at 7:09 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had two upper canines that grew in crooked in front of the baby teeth. They were like that for years. I eventually managed to loosen and pull one of the baby teeth by just keeping at it for a very long time(I'm talking months-years), and recently had the adult canine on the other side pulled because it was severely decayed.

So on one side of my mouth I have a crooked-and-not-quite-filling-the-space-properly adult canine, and on the other I have a slightly-wiggly-but-I'm-not-going-screw-with-it-any-more-than-I-can-avoid baby canine. My dentist said as long as it's willing to hold it should be fine.
posted by owtytrof at 10:10 AM on December 6, 2011

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