My grown up tooth is growing behind my baby tooth, what do I do?
We like to call this “shark teeth”, and this is extremely common, especially in the bottom front area which are usually the first teeth to fall out. The way baby teeth fall out naturally is due to a process called resorption. As the adult tooth is getting ready to “erupt” (grow into the mouth), it pushes on the root of its counterpart baby tooth. That pushing causes pressure that resorbs (“eats away at”) the baby tooth root. Eventually the root is completely resorbed and falls out because there is no root holding it in the bones and gums of the jaw. Shark teeth happen when the adult tooth takes an alternate path, (sometimes the path of least resistance), and erupt near the baby tooth. If the baby tooth is very loose, keep “wiggling” on it for it to come out. If this happens soon enough, hopefully the adult tooth will slide into its correct place (previously occupied by the baby tooth). Sometimes the baby teeth are not very loose and require extraction. Ideally the double row of teeth should be resolved within a couple of weeks. This allows the best chance for the adult tooth to erupt in the correct position, alleviates a “plaque trap” (food and bacteria stuck between the two teeth), and allows for the gums to grow and establish their correct shape and function around the new tooth. If in doubt, please call us.
How do sealants prevent cavities?
Sealants are placed in the pits, fissures, and grooves of molars. They do not help between teeth, where you need to floss. Natural pits in our teeth are smaller than a toothbrush bristle. They allow for a “home” for bacteria and food that become difficult to brush out. Most foods can “wash” out, but some, especially sticky foods will become trapped inside the pits. Once there, bacteria can feed on the sugar producing acid which then “attacks” the tooth and can cause cavities. Sealants can help stop this process by eliminating the pits and thereby eliminating the bacteria “homes”. Our office uses a technique called “air abrasion” which cleans out the bacteria from the pits conservatively with very little removal of tooth structure. Once cleaned, the liquid sealant is placed into the pits followed by a curing process which hardens the liquid. Normal wear and tear can reduce the amount of sealant on the tooth. We check this at every check-up. If after we have placed the sealant, a “touch-up” is needed, we will gladly add to the sealant at no charge to you.
Limitations may apply; patient must maintain regular check-ups.