Hyperdontia becomes apparent around the time children begin to lose their baby teeth.
Hyperdontia is the condition of having supernumerary teeth or teeth that appear in addition to the regular number of teeth. They can appear in any area of the dental arch and can affect any dental organ.
Supernumerary teeth can be classified by shape and by position. The shapes include the following:
- Supplemental (where the tooth has a normal shape for the teeth in that series);
- Tuberculate (also called barrel shaped);
- Conical (also called peg shaped);
- Compound odontoma (multiple small tooth-like forms);
- Complex odontoma (a disorganized mass of dental tissue)
The most common supernumerary tooth is a mesiodens, which is a malformed, peg-like tooth that occurs between the maxillary central incisors.
While years of research have presented no definitive answer as to the cause of hyperdontia, there are several theories. Some experts believe it may simply be the result of environmental factors while others blame a genetic predisposition. Still, others think it is connected to disorder’s such as Gardner’s Syndrome or Cleidocranial Dystosis. People who suffer from these disorders can have multiple extra teeth grow.
“Hyperdontia does not go away on its own, so treatment will be necessary to correct it,” says children’s dentist Dr. Nanna Ariaban. “In rare cases, if left too long, the supernumerary teeth can fuse to permanent teeth, making it necessary for surgery to detach them.”
In other cases, the teeth remain impacted, failing to erupt. These teeth can block permanent teeth from erupting, can displace permanent teeth, cause crowding, or form cysts in the mouth. A consultation with a pediatric dentist will involve X-rays, which can show the position of any extra teeth.
“Typically, I will recommend extracting the teeth before they cause any damage,” says Dr. Ariaban. “Extraction depends on the location of the extra tooth and its relation to the other teeth. If we don’t foresee any problems from the extra tooth, it is sometimes possible to leave it, as long as we are certain no problems will arise in the future.”
It’s important to begin your child’s relationship with a dentist by the age of one. This way, his mouth can be monitored and problems can be addressed as they arise. If problems are left too long, they can create more damage than they might otherwise have. If you have concerns or your child has not yet visited a dentist, schedule an appointment today.