Horse, Eagle, Shark: When Your Child Has The Dental Characteristics Of One Of These Animals

8 July 2019
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Unusual dental conditions in children are not particularly rare; it is just that a lot of dentists have not seen many cases, or cases go undetected. These conditions often leave children with teeth that you may only find in the mouth of a shark, a horse, or an eagle. Curious? You should be, and if your child is diagnosed with any of these unusual oral/dental conditions, you should definitely see a children's dental care specialist. The specialist can confirm the condition(s), and then suggest treatments.

The Mouth of a Shark

Sharks can have up to eight rows of teeth in their mouths at any one time. For them, this is perfectly normal because when they bite down hard on something, their teeth pop right out of their gums. The teeth located directly behind the recently lost teeth move into position to fill the empty spots. 

In children who have supernumerary teeth, they have a dental condition similar to a shark's. They have extra teeth behind the first set of teeth. Usually, the extra teeth are few and far between in kids who have them. Additionally, these extra teeth (like the shark's) are not well-rooted, and the dentist can attempt to pull them. If they are deeply rooted (which can happen with lesser frequency), then minor surgery may be in order. 

The Mouth of an Eagle

You would not think that an eagle has teeth, yet it does. Its beak is lined with razor-sharp points that are serrated, perfect for grabbing and tearing meat and keeping the meat in the bird's mouth. Their curved-back talons help hold their prey too. 

In a child who has talon cusps, the child has very odd, backward-facing points on his/her canines or bicuspids. They resemble the talons of an eagle as well as the curve of the inward-facing beak teeth of an eagle. Sometimes a dentist can file away the points. Sometimes a root canal is needed on these teeth because the pulp of the tooth reaches all the way into these "talons." An x-ray will reveal which procedure the specialist will need to do to correct this problem. 

The Mouth of a Horse

Horse teeth are rather unique in that they start out like most molars, except that they germinate in a way that gets more than one tooth growing from a single root. It produces a very large double-molar tooth, which is perfect if you are chewing and grinding hay and oats all day. For a horse, this is a perfectly normal way to grow teeth.

In a child, however, extra germinating teeth is not normal. It has a major impact on the rest of the teeth that are trying to break through. I can also impact the way a child chews, eats, and speaks. The specialist may decide to pull these teeth entirely, or break off the excess germinated growth from the affected teeth and then crown what is left.