When a person is born with supernumerary, or extra teeth, they suffer from an oral condition known as hyperdontia. The standard number of deciduous teeth (or baby teeth) in a child's mouth is 20, whereas an adult's permanent teeth number 32. The former set appear by the time he or she reaches the age of three. Permanent teeth are fully erupted between 16 and 18.
If you or your child develops more teeth in either of the primary or adult set, don't hesitate to visit the dentist for an official diagnosis.
Who Hyperdontia Affects
The exact cause for this condition is still unknown, but genetics are believed to play a role, as well as the cells that initiate the teeth's development. Keep in mind there are additional conditions that may accompany hyperdontia, such as Gardner syndrome, cleft lip and even Down's syndrome. And although it can affect any gender, race or age group, the European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry observes the condition more often in girls than boys – particularly in newly erupted adult teeth. It actually affects nearly 4 percent of the population, according to Live Science.
How Hyperdontia is Treated
There are a few options that can remedy the uncomfortable effects of hyperdontia. Orthodontic treatment will often help, but this can depend on how far along one's baby teeth are. Sometimes an extraction may also be warranted. Luckily it is more common in the permanent dentition, rather than the primary teeth, in which case you can pursue a solution without waiting to see how it may affect another set of teeth yet to come in.
Dental Problems That Can Arise
Supernumerary teeth can cause a variety of dental conflicts that interfere with the normal functioning of the mouth. Some of these issues include:
- Tooth impaction
- Crowding of teeth
- Issues with chewing properly
- Fusing with permanent teeth
- Cyst or tumor growth
Aside from being potentially problematic, there are cases wherein the condition is present without causing any problems to a person's oral health. Visiting the dentist at least twice a year for regular professional cleanings is always an effective habit to ensure the health of your mouth isn't suffering a setback related to extra teeth.
At home, don't stop brushing twice a day with a antimicrobial fluoride toothpaste, which can prohibit the formation of plaque and dental caries – both of which are just as likely with more teeth to clean. Remember, no matter what the condition, proper oral care is of utmost importance to secure one's natural teeth for a lifetime.