Permanent Teeth Coming In Before Baby Teeth Fall Out

Your child loves a visit from the tooth fairy, but what if their permanent teeth are coming in before their baby teeth have fallen out? Baby teeth usually start to fall out around age 6, but sometimes permanent teeth can grow in behind baby teeth—often referred to as “shark teeth.” This condition is fairly common and may fix itself. Other times, the baby teeth need a little nudge from a dentist.

A Kool Smiles dentist can help with a quick fix. We have over 120 locations across 15 states, making affordable dental treatments convenient and accessible for your family. Call 254-781-0553 to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our kid-friendly dentists. In the meantime, read more about caring for your child’s teeth below.

Why Do Permanent Teeth Come In Before Baby Teeth Fall Out?

Permanent teeth usually grow in behind baby teeth when the size of the permanent tooth is too large for the space occupied by the baby tooth. Overcrowding (or a permanent tooth that doesn’t fully erupt forward) commonly causes two rows of teeth along the lower jaw.

Normally, permanent teeth push against the roots of the baby teeth and make them dissolve. When the root is all but gone, the baby teeth become loose and fall out. Sometimes, the permanent teeth miss the baby teeth and push through the gums behind them. With nothing pushing and dissolving their roots, the baby teeth stay put.

“Shark teeth” are fairly common occurrences. They aren’t painful and often fix themselves when the baby teeth finally fall out on their own. With the baby teeth gone and new space opened up, the permanent teeth should shift into their proper position.

When You Should See a Dentist About Shark Teeth

There are a few instances where shark teeth can be cause for an appointment with your child’s dentist:

  • The baby tooth does not come out after several weeks.
  • A baby molar is lost prematurely, resulting in remaining baby teeth closing the gap and eliminating space for the permanent molar to come through.
  • The upper-front baby teeth will not come out, meaning the tongue can neither push the baby teeth out nor the permanent teeth forward.

If your child can wiggle their tooth and cause it to fall out on its own, then the permanent teeth should move into the space in time. If not, the crowding caused by stubborn baby teeth can make the permanent teeth come in crooked and worsen overcrowding.

A dentist can remove the baby tooth to make room. An X-ray may be taken to check the baby tooth’s roots. If there is not enough room for the permanent teeth to come in, the dentist may trim some of the neighboring baby teeth. The permanent teeth should shift into their final position within a few weeks or months.

If the permanent teeth do not move into the correct position, then your child may have to see an orthodontist to correct their alignment.

Should You Pull Out Your Child’s Loose Baby Tooth?

If your child’s permanent teeth are coming in before the baby teeth fall out, even if the baby tooth is loose, you should not yank the child’s tooth. Yanking out your child’s loose baby tooth can damage the tooth’s roots and make it more difficult for the permanent tooth to properly move into place.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Even though baby teeth fall out around age 6, they are more important than you may think. The health of your child’s baby teeth are important for the following reasons:

Baby teeth are important:

  • Baby teeth allot space for the permanent teeth.
  • They provide a healthy start for permanent teeth by being kept clean and free of decay.
  • Healthy baby teeth help your child maintain proper nutrition.
  • They aid in clear speech and a normal facial appearance.

Paying attention to your child’s baby teeth can be crucial to your child’s teeth, especially if the permanent teeth start to come in before the baby teeth fall out.

Proper Dental Care for Baby Teeth

Great dental health starts as early as infancy, even before the first tooth has erupted. A healthy mouth, especially when baby teeth are still present, leads to a healthier mouth when adult teeth are ready to erupt.

Here is what you can do to ensure your child’s adult teeth have a healthy foundation for growth:

  • Infancy—Take a clean, damp washcloth or gauze and rub it along the baby’s upper and lower gums to clean them.
  • 4 to 12 Months—Once their first teeth erupt, you can start caring for them by brushing twice a day with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Up to 3 Years—Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a grain-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
  • 3 to 6 Years—Start to use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. Make sure your child is not swallowing the toothpaste. As teeth touch, start flossing between the teeth to remove any plaque that can cause tooth decay.
  • 7 Years and Up — Eventually, you can pass on the responsibility to them as they age. Speak to your pediatric or general dentist about switching to an adult-strength toothpaste.

Caring for your children’s teeth early and consistently can result in long-term benefits for your child. Take the steps necessary to protect the developmental stage of their oral health both at home and with professionals.

Telling the Difference Between Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth

There are three ways to tell if your child’s tooth is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth.

  1. Baby teeth are often more white than permanent teeth. Permanent teeth tend to be more yellow.
  2. Baby teeth are smoother than permanent teeth. Permanent teeth have a jagged edge to break through the surface of the gums.
  3. Your child will have 20 baby teeth compared to 32 permanent teeth (including wisdom teeth). As your child’s jaw grows, their permanent molars will come in behind their primary teeth and fill those gaps.

Caring for Baby and Permanent Teeth at Kool Smiles

Why Kool Smiles? We’re a trusted, reliable dental provider, and we care about making dental health accessible to every family. We accomplish this goal in a number of different ways.

Affordable Dental Care

Worried about how you might pay for a dental procedure? At Kool Smiles, we can work with you to find the plan that fits best for your budget. We accept most major insurance plans, and you can still seek treatment with us if you are uninsured.

We currently accept:

  • Private insurance
  • Medicaid
  • Military insurance
  • Cash and debit cards
  • Credit cards
  • CareCredit

What is CareCredit? CareCredit is a healthcare-based credit card that can act as a feasible payment plan for dental expenses. Pay your bill in low-cost monthly payments and get the dental care that you and your family need.

At Kool Smiles, your child won’t have to deal with the consequences of a permanent tooth growing in behind their baby teeth. We can work with you to make it possible to fix the problem.

Convenient Dental Care

One of the biggest hindrances to families seeking dental care is that it’s simply impractical to fit visits into their day or week. If the office isn’t too far away, it seems it’s never open outside of normal working hours. For parents that spend most of the week working themselves and can’t get away from their job, this can make it impossible to schedule regular visits.

Thankfully, Kool Smiles knows how common this problem is and actively works to become a solution for families. Our offices are located in typically areas with the greatest need and usually hold Saturday hours, so families in the community have more opportunities to fit dental visits into their schedule.

Kid-Friendly Dental Care

Accessibility also means making visits comfortable and welcoming. One of the biggest causes of fear for children is an unappealing dental setting. Our offices are designed to be kid-friendly—many even have indoor or outdoor play areas while you wait.

Our expert dentists, pediatric dentists and orthodontists (many locations have one on-site) are especially experienced with working with young children. For each treatment, our dentists will walk you and your child through what to expect before, during and after the dental procedure.

We know losing baby teeth can sometimes be scary. We can help educate you on how to care for your child’s baby teeth and subsequent adult teeth, all while making your child feel confident and safe in the process.

Schedule an Appointment Today

At Kool Smiles, we have experience taking care of permanent teeth coming in before baby teeth fall out. Our kid-friendly dentists can make your child feel comfortable and happy to have a gift or two for the tooth fairy. Find your nearby Kool Smiles office and call 254-781-0553 to make an appointment today!



The Cleveland Clinic:

International Association of Paediatric Dentistry:

Better Health Channel: