Why does my child have two rows of teeth? What to Do About Hyperdontia

Having two rows of teeth as a child can be very common. But when should you take him or her in to see the dentist?

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Hi, I’m Dr. B, practicing functional dentist for 35 years. I graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA in 1987 and am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), and Dental Board of California. I'm on a mission to empower people everywhere with the same evidence-based, easy-to-understand dental health advice that my patients get. Learn more about Dr. B

Q: My son's adult teeth are coming in, but the baby teeth aren't falling out! He now has two rows of teeth on the bottom. What can be done about this? Is this an emergency or can I wait until his next dental check-up, which is several months away?

A:

This is very common. Normally, an adult tooth erupts directly underneath the root of the baby tooth, causing the baby tooth to become wiggly and fall out.

But if the adult tooth erupts somewhere else — usually behind the baby tooth — both the adult tooth and baby tooth can be present at the same time, usually with one behind the other.

This effect is also referred to as “shark teeth,” since sharks have two rows of teeth.

This usually looks concerning, but it’s very common and rarely becomes a problem.

If the baby tooth is moving or loose and the adult teeth are coming in, I would wait and see if the baby teeth come out.

If the baby teeth are not loose and both baby and adult teeth are at the same height, then I’d recommend scheduling an appointment with your family dentist or a pediatric oral surgeon to discuss whether the teeth need to be removed. However, the dentist will likely want to observe the teeth at first and wait to see what happens.

I wouldn’t worry, but do check the height of the teeth to see if they’re wiggly or not to determine whether or not you should schedule an appointment sooner rather than later.

Hope that helps!

Mark Burhenne DDS

Learn More: What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?