Is Having an Extra Tooth Common?

Posted on: November 28, 2018

It is normal for most people to form 20 baby teeth that will then be fully substituted by 32 permanent teeth. In some cases, the teeth may not appear completely, a condition known as hypodontia. In much rarer cases, all the teeth will erupt, along with additional ones. These extra teeth are supernumerary teeth, and the condition is known as hyperdontia.

What causes extra teeth?

There are two significant postulations about the causes of supernumerary teeth. The first is that a single tooth bud may split aberrantly to produce two teeth rather than one. The other theory is that extra teeth could be caused by hyperactivity in the dental lamina, which are the jaw tissues responsible for tooth buds. Heredity is also a contributing factor.

Supernumerary teeth appear in various ways, including:

  • Tuberculate (with multiple cusps)
  • Conical (peg-shaped)
  • Supplemental (multiple replicas of regular teeth)
  • Odontoma (a bulk of dental tissue that fails to develop into a tooth)

Who is likely to have hyperdontia?

Hyperdontia typically occurs more frequently in men than in women. A study conducted in southern China revealed that a tiny percentage (2.7 percent) of children had hyperdontia with a ratio of 6.5 frequency of occurrence in boys for one affect girl. Supernumerary teeth also occur more in permanent teeth than baby teeth.

Some growth disorders can increase the chances of developing at least one additional tooth, such as Gardner syndrome, or cleft lip or palate. However, the debate on the exact causes of hyperdontia continues.

How do supernumerary teeth affect dental health?

The most significant effect of hyperdontia is on the appearance of the smile, yet cosmetic concerns are not the only thing to deal with. An extra tooth can sometimes get impacted in the gum and result in overcrowding and alignment issues for other healthy teeth. In some cases, they can prevent the eruption of healthy teeth, and in more severe cases, root resorption may occur in the surrounding teeth.

How to handle the extra teeth

  • Consult a dentist to know the effect of your type of hyperdontia on your oral health: Depending on the location or position of the extra tooth, the dentist may suggest orthodontic care or tooth extraction to correct the situation.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene and consider tooth whitening: If the dentist thinks extraction or orthodontic care is not necessary, ask about the best whitening options. Whitening your smile will boost your confidence. You also need to maintain adequate oral health to keep your teeth in good shape.
  • Being different is not necessarily a bad quality: Many successful people do not have a perfect smile — actors, musicians, politicians and writers — and that should help you realize that having a different smile may be your unique asset, instead of a concern.

The bottom line

Having an extra tooth is not a common phenomenon, and the most important thing is keeping your teeth healthy through preventative dental care. If you are not confident in your smile, a dental expert will recommend a number of procedures to give you the smile you desire. Talk to one of our dental health professionals today.

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