Generally, people have two sets of teeth throughout their lives, with most of us having 20 baby teeth as children and 32 permanent teeth as adults. However, this number will be higher for a certain percentage of people. This condition is what experts refer to as hyperdontia, or when extra teeth are growing in your gums.
In this article, we’ll talk about the causes of hyperdontia, the problems that can arise from the condition, and how it is diagnosed. Furthermore, we’ll also talk about the issues associated with mesiodens. Lastly, we’ll discuss available treatment options, all of which you can count on at our restorative dentistry in Coral Gables.
This condition is relatively rare, with only an estimated 3.8% of adults having at least one or more supernumerary teeth. These extra whites can be either impacted, meaning they are under the gum line, or visible (also called erupted extra teeth).
The condition may be challenging to diagnose in children, as the extra baby teeth will often look normal and grow like the others, aligned with the rest of them.
The extra teeth growing in the gums and mouth may be located anywhere:
- Mediodens: These are extra teeth that will usually grow behind the two maxillary incisors or the person’s two front teeth. Mesiodens are the most common extra teeth type that occurs in patients.
- Distomolars: These extra teeth usually grow aligned with other molars in the mouth.
- Paramolars: These extras aren’t in line. Instead, they grow next to the molars.
Furthermore, these supernumerary teeth can also come in a wide range of different shapes, such as:
- Tuberculate. These are barrel-shaped extra teeth that will usually grow in pairs but will rarely manage to erupt from the gums.
- Conical. These are tiny, cone-shaped teeth that usually appear behind the patient’s front teeth.
- Supplemental extra teeth. These will usually be shaped like the rest of our regular teeth, primarily located at the very end of a set of teeth.
- Odontoma. This is a condition where the dental tissue grows in an atypical manner.
Causes of Supernumerary Teeth
The scientific community isn’t exactly sure about the leading causes of hyperdontia. Still, research suggests that patients who have several extra teeth are more likely to have other disorders as well, like:
- Cleidocranial dysostosis. This is a rare condition that’s usually hereditary. It causes bone deformities, most often in the collarbone and the skull.
- Gardner syndrome. Also, a hereditary condition that increases the chances of patients developing certain tumors. Patients with Gardner syndrome, for instance, have a higher risk of developing malignancies like colorectal cancer at younger ages than most people who battle with colorectal cancer.
- Cleft palate of cleft lip. This condition manifests as an opening in the mouth’s roof or the upper lift. Both of these conditions can lead to other issues, like feeding, speech, and hearing issues, along with a higher risk of suffering from ear infections. Also, both are congenital disabilities that usually develop in the earliest stages of pregnancy.
- Fabry disease. Another rare condition in which the patient’s body cannot produce enzymes that break down fatty substances. This condition leads to burning pains in the patient’s hands and feet, also causing rashes, the inability to sweat, and severe stomach pain.
Extra teeth behind your teeth, mesiodens, and other extra teeth usually don’t cause any pain. However, their awkward location may be a cosmetic issue. In other cases, when they don’t erupt through the gum line, they can affect the functionality of the rest of the patient’s teeth.
As a matter of fact, supernumerary teeth may:
- Affect or prevent the rest of the patient’s regular teeth from coming in normally
- Push the rest of the teeth out of their normal position
- Damage regular tooth’s roots
- Cause teeth crowding that may lead to aesthetic concerns
Furthermore, cysts may also develop around the teeth behind other teeth. There’s evidence that suggests that around 11% of all patients with hyperdontia also have cysts.
Lastly, the teeth may also start growing in the nasal cavity in rare and extreme cases.
For the most part, diagnosing the condition isn’t challenging because the extra teeth are often visible. Still, in some cases, the extra teeth may only be discovered after dental X-rays or when a tooth simply doesn’t come in.
CT scans may also be utilized to diagnose the condition.
Usually, the treatment for this condition depends on the type of hyperdontia patients are experiencing and the teeth’ position. Furthermore, the treatment will also depend on how the extra teeth affect normal nearby teeth.
That said, there are cases when the condition won’t require any treatment. In these instances, dental experts will often just monitor the extra teeth and take X-rays if necessary.
In other cases, the dentists may advise taking out the extra teeth:
- When they prevent the regular tooth from coming in or try to move it out of its place
- When they affect the efficiency of other dental treatments, like braces
- When they lead to complications such as cyst development or damage to nearby teeth roots
- When they erupt suddenly
- When they get in the way of implant or bone graft placement
- When they prevent patients from brushing and flossing normally, which can lead to a higher risk of cavities and a myriad of other dental problems
- When they become a cosmetic/aesthetic concern
Some experts will disagree on when supernumerary teeth should be removed. Some dentists state that the extra teeth should be removed immediately after establishing a diagnosis. Others say that the surgery should be performed later in the case of children when they are around eight to ten years old. Waiting a bit will allow the roots of the regal teeth to form correctly, minimizing damage when the extra teeth are removed.
When the extras are visible, they are usually easy to remove, just like in the case of regular teeth. However, if the gums or a bone layer covers them, surgery becomes more intricate, as the gums should be lifted or the bone layer should be removed first.
Removing the extra tooth may also be more challenging when it fuses with the nearby tooth, either at the root level or at the top.
As you can see, hyperdontia isn’t always a concern. In other cases, it can be a cosmetic issue, or it may lead to other dental problems. At Gables Sedation, our expert team of dentists and helpful staff can address every dental issue and help patients find the most appropriate option for removing their extra teeth. So, if you are looking for an experienced and compassionate team of experts, feel free to reach out to us and schedule an appointment. We’re here to help with all of your dental needs.