What is a Supernumerary Tooth?
In childhood, a complete smile consists of 20 teeth. In adulthood, that number increases to a total of 32 teeth, including the wisdom teeth. When a patient is found to have more than the normal number of teeth, the additional teeth are known as “supernumerary teeth”, or hyperdontia. In dentistry, these terms describe a common condition in which extra teeth that develop for a variety of reasons. Studies have shown that heredity appears to be the most common cause of this condition.
The top front teeth (maxillary central incisors) and the multiple wisdom teeth are the most commonly seen supernumerary teeth, though the condition can occur at any location in the mouth. Generally, the additional teeth are asymptomatic, meaning that they do not contribute to any immediate pain or discomfort. In fact, they are typically maintained within the bone and do not actually erupt into the oral cavity. Instead, these teeth must be diagnosed with the help of x-ray imaging.
Even when the extra teeth do not grow into the mouth, they can pose complications that should be identified and addressed as soon as possible.
Impacted or un-erupted supernumerary teeth can sometimes affect the health of the tooth roots of the adjacent teeth. In some cases, these teeth can actually displace the neighboring teeth, contributing to crowding and other alignment issues.
For patients who are considering dental implants, supernumerary teeth can complicate or restrict the placement of the implant post.
The decision to address a supernumerary tooth is largely dependent upon the location and position of the tooth. The decision will also be based upon the tooth’s impact on your overall oral health. If the tooth is found to be related to a pathologic condition such as an infection, or if the tooth has displaced a neighboring tooth, you may need to visit an experienced oral surgeon to have the tooth removed.
If you are aware that you have a supernumerary tooth, or if you suspect such a condition, you should call to schedule an appointment with the office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez today.