Your Child Has a Mesiodens. Now What?

A mesiodens is a supernumerary – or extra – tooth that most often grows between the two top front teeth. This extra tooth can interfere with eruption and alignment of the permanent or adult teeth, and early intervention is needed. Why is an extra tooth undesirable? Besides the aesthetics factor, an extra tooth may cause damage to the adjacent teeth and affect the permanent dentition. It's best to remove an extra tooth to avoid any damage. Read on to learn more about the implications of an extra tooth and what you should do if your child has one.

About Extra Teeth

Research published by the Journal of Dentistry for Children defines mesiodens as an extra tooth located in the midline of the upper jaw between the two front incisors. The study concludes that males are twice more likely than females to develop supernumerary teeth, and 25 percent of the study participants had two extra teeth. The condition is quite rare. Approximately 1 percent of the population is affected.

The Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) says that the exact cause of extra teeth is unknown. The condition may be genetic, or it could result from overactive dental lamina, which is the tissue that appears at the very beginning of the tooth development stage. The extra tooth may also result from the division of a single tooth bud.

Discovery and Treatment

Since mesiodens appear or erupt with the adult dentition, it is vital for healthy teeth and jaw formation to diagnose this condition early. They can be detected with an X-ray, either a single film or panoramic view. Regular dental check ups should begin as early as age 1 or when your child's first tooth erupts and continue every six months. By age 5, X-rays should be expected to diagnose conditions not seen clinically. JCDR recommends careful clinical and radiographic examinations to manage this condition as early as possible. If left undiscovered, it can affect the permanent dentition by delaying or displacing the eruption of adult teeth, inhibiting orthodontic treatment and damaging roots of the adjacent permanent teeth.

When this condition is discovered, the best treatment is to remove the extra tooth. According to research by the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, intervention before age 5 reduces surgical complications and the misalignment of the permanent teeth, thus reducing the need for orthodontic treatment. Before age 5, the root of the mesiodens is not completely developed, which makes the extraction and healing more successful. Your child will be referred to an oral surgeon who will perform the procedure under general anesthesia, utilizing advanced imaging methods to ensure the best result.

Importance of Dental Visits

Although this anomaly is rare, other dental problems, from decay to thumb sucking, should be recognized and treated sooner rather than later. Early and regular dental visits will help to diagnose and avoid problems with kids' permanent dentition. Great at-home oral hygiene habits are key too, like brushing with an extra gentle toothpaste, such as Colgate Kids Cavity Protection toothpaste. Healthy baby teeth lead to a healthy adult smile!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Tips for Good Oral Care During Childhood

  • Brushing and flossing
    Begin using toothpaste to brush your child's teeth when he (or she) is 2 years old. Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing, rather than spitting it out. Introduce fluoride toothpaste when your child is old enough not to swallow it. As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day. You can use regular floss or special plastic floss holders.

  • Dental visit
    New parents often ask, "When should my child first see a dentist?” Your child should see a dentist by his or her first birthday.

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