Our Family’s Encounter with Shark Teeth


When my daughter was five, she noticed that her bottom tooth was slightly wiggly. It absolutely made her day. She went on a quest to absorb all of the information she could find about the tooth fairy. We borrowed all of the picture books and chapter books that would fulfill her curiosity. It was clear that she was excited about that one semi-loose tooth. 

At her dental appointment, it was confirmed that her teeth were indeed loose. The dentist had also noticed that my daughter’s adult teeth were starting to erupt, and it was there that I was introduced to the term shark teeth. It is when a child’s permanent tooth or teeth erupt while the primary or baby teeth are still present. At this point, we were told to wiggle the baby teeth daily to loosen them and to schedule our regular 6-month appointment. 

Months later, during bedtime prep, my husband saw that my now 6 year old’s adult tooth had fully broken through her gums, she clearly had two rows of teeth. I immediately had a session with Dr. Google. I came across various opinions and advice regarding how common or uncommon this was and how we should wait it out. So rather than calling the dentist during a pandemic, I decided to follow Dr. Google’s orders. The scheduled 6-month appointment was coming up soon anyway. 

My decision was the best at the moment, but it did not end up being the best long term. Six mentioned her tongue felt weird and how eating was a bit uncomfortable. I had to move beyond all of the restrictions and guidelines and mental roadblocks of whether or not this was deemed urgent during the pandemic just to call the dentist, but I did. An immediate tooth extraction was scheduled. My daughter’s experience was completely different than what she read in her books. 

As a mother, I never thought that I was going to one day have to weigh the risks of visiting the dentist, wondering whether or not it was safe. This current pandemic has made what seems to be the most basic health care decisions even more challenging to navigate through. 

On the day of the extraction, I had to explain laughing gas, numbing, our temperatures being taken at the door, why we can’t touch the door handle, etc. To my surprise, Six was very relaxed about everything including the procedure. Two days of popsicles and grape-flavored Tylenol seemed to aid the healing process. All in all, she was happy to have her own unique story.