All Your Burning Hyperdontia Questions Answered
What is Hyperdontia?
The scientific definition of Hyperdontia is “Any tooth or odontogenic structure that is formed from tooth germ in excess of usual number for any given region of the dental arch.”
Hyperdontia is a medical term for a dental condition where an individual has more teeth than the standard number, 20 for a child and 32 for the average adult. Called supernumerary teeth, they may erupt anywhere in the mouth. Most often, however, hyperdontia patients’ supernumerary teeth will grow in their upper jaw.
Not in every case will these additional teeth be visible. When supernumerary teeth are visible, it is unattractive and can be embarrassing to those with hyperdontia. The term is not to be confused with “hypodontia” (hyper vs. hypo), which is the opposite – a congenital lack of teeth, a more common condition.
Your dentist may see the extra teeth growing where they are not expected, even if not visible to the public. An x-ray may reveal teeth waiting to come out. Occasionally, a CT scan is used to learn more about the positions of any supernumerary teeth.
Dentists use various terms types of extra teeth:
- Supplementary – Teeth normal in shape and size
- Tuberculate – Barrel-shaped teeth
- Conical – peg-shaped or pointy teeth
- Compound/complex odontoma – A group of teeth-like growths or a mass of tooth-like tissue
Supernumerary teeth can erupt anywhere in the oral cavity, but not anywhere but your mouth. As mentioned above, they usually grow in their upper jaw. However, there are other places in the mouth where these extra teeth can present.
Terms for places supernumerary teeth can appear:
Mesiodens – Extra teeth in the mouth roof behind regular anterior teeth (teeth in the front of the mouth, incisors, lateral incisors, and canines.) Around 0.15% and 4% of hypodontia patients have these types of supernumerary teeth.
Paramolars – rare supernumerary structures of maxillofacial complex growing in the gums on the inside or outside regular teeth. Because Paramolars grow around the molars at the sides of your mouth, they are less noticeable.
Distomolars – While it’s rare, some patients with hyperdontia may have extra wisdom teeth that grow in line with their other teeth. Although Distomolars don’t usually erupt, dentists can find them with an X-ray. A symptom of supernumerary wisdom teeth is tooth pain. It is extremely rare, but there are cases where a patient had a fifth, six, or even seventh molar.
What causes Hyperdontia?
There are several known causes of supernumerary teeth in the roof of the mouth and the gums. If you have a family history of relatives with hyperdontia, you may have a greater chance of having a problem with extra teeth, but it isn’t written in stone.
Around 3% of the general population have at least one extra tooth. Studies have shown men have a 50% higher probability of supernumerary teeth than women, who have a greater risk of missing teeth (hypodontia.) Around 5% of children born with a cleft palate or lip have supernumerary teeth.
Medical conditions increasing the chance of having extra teeth
There are certain diseases associated with people who have extra teeth. These include:
Gardner’s Syndrome (GDS) – a form of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) characterized by multiple polyps of the colon and several forms of benign and malignant tumors.
Ehlers-Danos Syndrome (EDS) – a group of inherited disorders that affect connective tissues, mainly the skin, joints, and blood vessel walls.
Cleidocranial Dysplasia (CCD) – a congenital disability that chiefly affects bones and teeth development. Dental abnormalities are prevalent in CDC.
Just because you find an extra tooth in your mouth, don’t panic; these conditions are rare. If you are concerned, ask your dentist whether they think you should be referred to a doctor for tests.
Read the descriptions of these diseases here, and you will have a better idea if you are at risk. These are mainly familial diseases (diseases that run in the family.) If no one in your family has GDS or EDS, you are highly unlikely to have those conditions. And most likely, you would know by now by having some of the symptoms of those diseases.
Patients with hyperdontia don’t always need treatment, but having too many teeth can certainly cause dental problems. Some of the issues extra teeth can create are:
- Aesthetic issues if the extra teeth are noticeable
- Crowded or crooked teeth
- Difficulties with regular teeth erupting
- Problems chewing food
- Problems speaking
- Tooth decay from difficulty cleaning teeth
Due to this range of possible dental problems, dentists often advise their patients to have hyperdontia treatment. Depending on the patient’s age and the number of supernumerary teeth they have, a combination of the following dental treatments can be performed.
Dentists typically find it necessary to extract supernumerary teeth due to the many problems they can cause. If the extra teeth can easily be seen and accessed, they can be removed just like any other tooth.
A dentist will want to remove the extra teeth by the age of seven to minimize the disruption of the development of other normal teeth. If extracted then, all of the other teeth should erupt adequately, and if extra teeth appear, later on, they can still be removed.
Braces cannot be used to treat extra teeth, but they can be used after tooth extraction. Often, supernumerary teeth will push the other regular teeth out of line. Once the additional teeth are removed, a dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment with braces to straighten the crooked teeth.
Fillings, crowns, and veneers
Extra teeth can cause damage to the surrounding teeth and make dental hygiene very tough. Fillings, crowns, and veneers can be used to repair damages as a result of hyperdontia.
Contact Kyrene Family Dentistry!
Hyperdontia isn’t something that you should stress over. If detected early in a dental check-up, treatment can be simple and effective. If you find that you have any extra teeth, make an appointment with us for a thorough diagnosis. Depending on that, we can offer a treatment plan. Contact us today and keep your smile in perfect shape.