In today's culture, you're bombarded with images of perfect teeth and impeccable smiles. According to KidsHealth.org, braces to straighten teeth have become "almost expected" and customary on the road to becoming an adult. But if you were born with extra teeth, you may feel a flawless smile eludes you. Instead of hiding behind your hands or a pursed-lip smile, consider these tips to give you more confidence.
An adult mouth has 32 teeth total. Having more than 32 teeth is a condition known as supernumerary teeth – or hyperdontia – which can be found in both baby and permanent teeth. Hyperdontia can occur in either your upper or lower teeth, as published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry, but is not common in people who have no other "associated diseases or syndromes."
The NIH reports that majority of hyperdontia occurs in maxillary, or upper teeth. But the type of hyperdontia depends on the location, shape and direction of the extra teeth:
- Conical supernumerary teeth look like small "peg-shaped" teeth. These can erupt near your upper central incisors.
- Tuberculate supernumerary teeth are"barrel-shaped teeth"that also form in the upper anterior region and present as a set of teeth behind the front teeth.
- Supplemental supernumerary teeth are extra teeth that look like your regular teeth. These erupt near the premolar region of your mouth (or just behind your canine teeth).
Causes of Extra Teeth
It's not absolutely clear why hyperdontia occurs, though it may be linked to heredity, according to the NIH. The condition commonly occurs alongside syndromes such as Gardner's Syndrome, a condition that creates multiple internal polyps, or in other genetic or chromosomal-based syndromes. Likewise, children born with a cleft palate can also have extra teeth, per New South Wales Government Health (NSW)
Tips to Feel More Confident
Ask Your Dentist's Advice: Ask your dentist how your type of hyperdontia affects your oral health. Depending on placement of these teeth, your dentist may recommend orthodontia to correct it.
Maintain Healthy Teeth and Seek Whitening Solutions: If either removal or orthodontics is not necessary or possible, ask your dentist about the best whitening solutions. A white smile will give you an extra boost of confidence. Maintaining your regular oral care routine using a teeth whitening toothpaste like Colgate Total® Advanced Whitening Toothpaste will help you whiten your smile by removing surface stains.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind: As long as your dentist gives you a thumbs up on your good oral care and healthy mouth, don't let your smile get you down. Rather, consider your smile as a unique characteristic that makes you, you.
Being unique is not necessarily a bad quality: Don't forget the number of successful people whose smile isn't perfect – from supermodels, actors and musicians, to writers and politicians – and you might better be able to see that having a unique smile may be an asset, rather than a liability.