Baby Teeth Not Fallen and Adult Teeth Coming In

There are many parents who are petrified when they see a permanent tooth erupting behind the baby tooth. They wonder whether this is alright as permanent teeth only need to erupt once the baby teeth have fallen.

But, in reality it is quite okay for the permanent tooth to erupt before the milk tooth has fallen. The way it goes on to work is that the permanent tooth will make the roots of the baby tooth weaker and the baby tooth will fall off on its own. This space will be then occupied by the permanent tooth. Although, this is not the course of event followed all the time.

The thing is that if there is not enough space available in the child’s mouth then the permanent tooth will start erupting behind the baby tooth. There might be enough space but still this might occur as the new tooth might not be able to reabsorb the baby tooth at a fast rate. This means that it takes the easy way out of growing behind the baby tooth. The permanent tooth grows behind the baby tooth which is the path of least resistance.

The baby tooth will still be in the mouth and then the permanent tooth will erupt. This is most commonly seen in kids who are six years old and in the lower front teeth. The technical term for this is lingually erupting mandibular incisors. The other name that it is known by is shark teeth or simply permanent teeth erupting behind the baby teeth. This can also happen to the upper molars when the child is 11 years old.

Is there a reason why do permanent teeth grow behind the baby teeth?

The main reason behind ectopic and lingually erupting incisors is not being placed well. There are quite a few reasons why shark teeth might occur.

1.   There are dentists who say that when the roots of the baby teeth don’t dissolve like normal, then the permanent teeth are bound to come from behind. This is the place that has the least amount of resistance to it and they find it easy to emerge.

2.   On the other hand, there are dentists who think that permanent teeth start growing from behind because of too many teeth and overcrowding that takes place in the jaw.

3.   Then, some say that permanent teeth go on to grow behind the baby teeth as this is a deviation and this ensures that they aren’t going to grow normally.

Is it a threat if there are permanent teeth growing behind the baby teeth are the question?

This is a common occurrence in children to find permanent teeth growing behind baby teeth. In fact, almost 10% of kids will encounter this.

Having said that shark teeth do not need much assistance from a dentist as they can find their own answer since over time the baby teeth has to fall. But, there are times when they don’t have a resolution as the baby teeth do not fall on their own. This then gets termed as retained baby teeth. If this happens then a dentist has to help to manage the permanent teeth coming in behind the baby teeth.  They must ensure that the correct position and there is ample of space for the permanent teeth to erupt perfectly. For that they might have to remove the baby teeth.

The Help a Dentist Can Render to Manage Permanent Teeth Coming In Behind Baby Teeth

If you find that your child has shark teeth then what you do need to do is to watch it for a few days or weeks and see if it gets resolved on its own. It is certainly a great idea to consult a dentist about it. This is when the child’s dentist will recommend whether you do need to remove the baby teeth or wait and watch. This will ensure that you are able to get the right resolution for the problem.

The dentist may remove the baby teeth behind which the adult tooth is growing and this will go on to give the permanent teeth enough space to come forward. There is also a procedure called disking wherein a part of the adjacent baby tooth enamel is removed so as to give enough room for the permanent teeth to grow into its final position. This does not require your child to go through extraction of the adjacent baby teeth right away. However, even after disking if the permanent teeth seem to have no space to move forward and grow well then the dentist will be forced to remove the adjacent milk tooth to have extra space in the mouth.

The new tooth will then go on to slowly and gradually move forward and take the place of the milk teeth. This might take a long time and the effects can be seen in months or weeks. You will notice that the permanent teeth have a straighter look to them as they move into the final position.

A thing to keep in mind is that there is enough space in the mouth for the adult teeth to erupt. This will ensure that your child has a good smile and effective chewing for a lifetime.


The thing to remember as a parent is that shark teeth are not abnormal. Almost 10% of children have it and the milk teeth will either fall on their own within some time. If they don’t fall even after some weeks, then intervention of a dentist is required. If the baby tooth falls out on its own then you are surely spared the hassles. If it does not then you need to consult a dentist who will recommend a solution. The baby tooth is pulled out in such situations. It is a simple thing and you need not worry needlessly about it. This will make enough room in your child’s mouth for the permanent teeth to emerge.



 User Comments on -  Baby Teeth Not Fallen and Adult Teeth Coming In

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Posted By : sudha on 12-Dec-2012 03:33 AM
Thanks for the reply.One thing I forgot to tell you that,when I was 7 years of age,one small teeth was coming in between my upper front teeth which I immediately removed.So it must be that one which was supposed to come that place.

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 10-Dec-2012 11:27 PM

Hi Sudha,We would have to know if the retained baby tooth is because of an impacted (or blocked) permanent tooth below it or is it because there is no permanent tooth there at all.A simple x-ray would be enough to tell.If there is an impacted tooth your best treatment may be to extract the baby tooth and have the permanent one drawn into the proper position.If there is a missing permanent tooth you may elect to leave it alone.Retained baby teeth are often lost eventually when the patient is between 30 and 45 years of age.My recommendation to you is to have a consultation with a General Dentist or an Orthodontist for advice in your specific situation.Hope that helps.Good luck!!


Posted By : sudha on 10-Dec-2012 09:04 AM
Hello, I am 22 yrs old,Once a doc tod me that my lateral inssisor is a milk question is will it fall early or will it grow...i dont want to wear any there any solution for this..I also have gap in between .thankyou

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 28-Aug-2012 01:25 AM

Dear DAVID, You need to wait till all your permanent teeth have erupted. Sometimes the tooth comes into its original place due to the forces exerted by the adjacent teeth but if it is not the case then you need to get the braces. The forces due to braces will align the teeth in their original position.


Posted By : david on 27-Aug-2012 08:38 AM
I am 15 and have my baby tooth that is two away from the top front teeth still in my mouth. I am getting it pulled and the adult tooth is behind the baby tooth ... will my adult tooth move back into place at all after the baby tooth is out and is there any other option besides full braces to pull the tooth back into place if it doesnt move back into place naturally? thank you!

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 13-Jul-2012 09:22 PM
Nida , yes this kind of anomaly do occur in many individuals specially with canine.The permanent canine gets impacted due to persistence of milk teeth.In such condition if the milk tooth is firm then we usually does not do anything with it until it gets loose itself and falls and then we can surgically make the permanent tooth erupt as told by ur dentist. As your milk tooth has now started to move and is becoming loose then u can visit ur dentist again and seek advice as I think he should now plan extraction of this tooth if it is really loose.

Posted By : Nida on 13-Jul-2012 03:15 PM
I am 25yrs old n I still have a canine milk tooth on upper left.When I consulted the dentist he said I have my permanent teeth impacted in my palate just behind that milk tooth and as I dont have any problem with it,it can be left untouched.If it falls of by itself then a surgical procedure must be carried out to bring that permanent tooth down from the pallate.Sometimes I feel that tooth wil off as it is moving.Are there any cases regarding milk tooth persisting due to impacted permanent tooth and what can be done in this condition??

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 17-Jun-2012 09:35 PM
GISELLE, i would recommend you to go to an orthodontist and get your case manually checked. At the age of 25 all your milk teeth should have fallen off. So, if you see your permanent teeth coming with milk teeth still in oral cavity then you first would be required to get the milk teeth extracted and after that undergo braces treatment.

Posted By : Giselle on 16-Jun-2012 05:40 AM
Hi i am a 25 year old that still has her 2 canine teeth "the ones that are 2 over to the front teeth" i went to the orthodontics years ago and he said hey will never fall out they were not in position to fall out ever unless i had the baby ones pulled and had a very expensive surgery to bring them down. well now i have 1 growing out and broke through my gum i can only see the tip of the tooth now my question is what will happen ??? even if i go to the orthodontics will my tooth stay out of place and look ugly or can he bring it to the front??

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 12-Jun-2012 12:01 AM
LALITHA, what i think is that before getting your teeth in perfect alignment you shouldn't go for crowns...I recommend you to get a second opinion from orthodontist or reconfirm regarding your treatment from the same dentist.

Posted By : lalitha on 11-Jun-2012 10:34 AM
I am 20.Since my baby tooth did not fall off,an adult tooth grew behind at the right side of my lower jaw.I went to a dentist and he removed canine and fixed ceramic braces so that the gap will be filled and the one which is behind moves the gap has been filled but the other one is still a bit behind.he says to get the braces removed and to fix 4 caps....will this work???please reply

Posted By : Dr.Ritz on 23-Apr-2012 10:56 PM
Harish, RCT is generally done if the infection has spread to the roots of teeth (which can be diagnosed by taking an X-Ray) and in your case it might be quite possible that is why your dentist has recommended you RCT. Now as the crowning is to be done on upper front teeth, so esthetics are a prime focus.You can go for PFM (Porcelain Fused to Metal) or all ceramic crowns. Their strength is good and can withstand the stress similar to natural tooth. As far infection is concerned, if RCT and crowning is done properly, than there are no chances of infection in future. You just need to maintain a proper oral hygiene like brushing twice daily, flossing at least once and using mouthwash rinses.

Posted By : Harish on 23-Apr-2012 11:22 AM
I had consulted dentist . That he told that root canal treatment should be done for three teeth due to which cracks has been occured and after he going to replace with crown . My question is why the root canal treatment is required and which crown is best for upper front teeth , and after replacement will it work and withstand the stress as before as my natural teeths, will it cause any effect or infection in the future . Which one is the best option can any one expert please do scoonem recommend

Posted By : Dr. Ritz on 23-Apr-2012 06:25 AM
Harish,All the adult teeth they erupt by the age of 12 . So at the age of 22 if you have lost the tooth that was adult tooth so it is not going to re erupt as human beings have only two sets of teeth . The baby teeth and the adult teeth and if adult tooth is lost it is not replaced. You have to get it replaced either by implant or the bridge

Posted By : harish on 21-Apr-2012 08:48 PM
hi i got accident . at the time of accident my three teeths has been broken . one of my teeth has broken full . and remaining two only 25% broken. will the completely broken teeth will grow at this age of 22. please reply

Posted By : Dr Ritz on 15-Apr-2012 06:46 AM
Nikki, all the baby teeth are replaced by the age of 12 years. if at the age of 22 you still have a baby tooth then that is retained. if it is mobile and is not coming out then you have to get it pulled by your dentist. Whether the adult tooth will come in its place depend upon many factors like the sufficient space for the adult tooth

Posted By : Nikki on 14-Apr-2012 06:30 PM
I am 22 years old and I have 1 baby tooth left. Its the top 2 over from the front tooth. The adult tooth has grown in behind it and the baby tooth has been loose for years and no matter how hard I tug it just never seems to come out. I am worried that once I do get the little bugger out that the teeth next to it will move into the space instead of the one that is behind.

Posted By : Dr Ritz on 13-Dec-2011 05:32 AM
Front lower baby teeth usually get loose at age of 5-6 years. As of now, you can just wait and watch. Tooth will eventually get loose in other month or two. If baby teeth don't get loose even after few months, then you can get the baby teeth pulled out. Anesthesia is given to the child and baby tooth is removed with forceps. Roots of baby teeth are mostly resorbed so extraction is mostly simple and causes no pain. If you are apprehensive, then you can visit a pedodontist who is specialist in children dentistry.

Posted By : Helen on 13-Dec-2011 05:21 AM
My 5 year old has the above problem however her front lower baby tooth is not loose at all. How serious is this and what is the procedure to surgically extract the baby tooth?

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