Sink Your Teeth Into Ectopic Eruption: Understanding And Treatment For Your Child’s Shark Teeth

As a parent, you want the best for your child. From physical and emotional health to entertainment and fun, most parents want their kids to have it all. Unfortunately, your child may have a cosmetic issue affecting their smile. Misaligned and discolored teeth are common concerns, but most children will benefit from orthodontic treatments and cosmetic dentistry. However, one in 10 children will develop ectopic eruption, a double row of teeth that resemble shark's teeth.

Using this guide, you will understand the causes of ectopic eruption and learn ways to improve your kid's smile.

Ectopic Eruption 101

Through the years, your child will grow and then lose baby teeth. Unfortunately, a permanent, adult tooth may erupt before the baby tooth falls out. Known as ectopic eruption, the condition creates a second row of teeth in your child's mouth.

Many people compare this dental anomaly to the natural growth of teeth in a shark. While natural in sharks, the addition of these permanent teeth before the baby teeth dislodge is caused by a few different factors including:

  • Lack of space for new tooth to erupt
  • Primary teeth remain for excessive amount of time
  • Prolonged thumb sucking, pacifier/bottle usage
  • Heredity/common in other family members

Treatment Options

An estimated 66 percent of ectopic eruptions will correct on their own. However, your child may require additional treatment to ensure a healthy, appealing smile in the future.

Your dentist will recommend the best course of action to treat your child's specific needs. Here are a few effective treatment options to consider:

  • Extraction – Extracting the primary teeth ensures the permanent teeth have the room they need to grow without difficulty. Dentists will use a light anesthetic to numb your child's gums before making a small incision near the primary tooth.  Then, the dentist will dislodge the tooth and suture the incision. While extractions are not painful, your child's mouth may be sore and tender for a few days after.
  • Orthodontics – Utilizing plastics, wires, and appliances, an orthodontist can separate your child's primary teeth from their new permanent teeth. These orthodontic options also ensure the new permanent teeth continue to grow in the proper manner.

The Impact of Ectopic Eruption

Although unappealing, ectopic eruption can create serious dental issues. Many children with an ectopic eruption suffer from severe overcrowding, which damages surrounding teeth and tooth decay. In addition, the condition can result in toothaches and a misaligned bite.

Without sufficient space in the gums for the new teeth to erupt, your child may develop one or more impacted teeth. If you notice one or more teeth developing in a second row and your child is experiencing pain, your dentist will recommend an x-ray to determine if they have an impacted tooth.

Considering ectopic eruptions occur in an abnormal direction, a surgical procedure is the most effective option for removing an impacted tooth. An oral surgeon will perform the surgical extraction by administering local or general anesthesia and then making a small incision in the gum tissue of the problem tooth.

In certain cases, a section of bone may be blocking the impacted tooth. The oral surgeon first removes the section of bone before completing the extraction. Due to the abnormal eruption, the surgeon must break up the tooth to remove it completely from the mouth. Afterwards, the surgeon will suture up the incision. To ward of potential infections, your child may also require an antibiotic.

An ectopic eruption, or shark's teeth, may be an unusual trait of your child. However, with proper understanding of the condition, your child will receive the treatment that best suits their needs.