As a rule, a human has a brilliant chance to enjoy his full set of thirty-two teeth. However, we already know that not everyone goes through his wisdom teeth eruption, or possibly needs to have his impacted third molars extracted. The non-conservative treatment may also be required for any other affected permanent tooth. Therefore, the number of teeth in adults may vary, but not only downwards.
Some of us develop an extra tooth or even a pair of them. This quite rare dental condition is commonly referred to as “supernumerary teeth” or, in more medical terms, “hyperdontia“. The presence of additional teeth within the patient’s oral cavity is closely linked to a whole range of various dental and general health complications, yet deciduous teeth require regular and thorough professional monitoring and the treatment of supernumerary teeth involves the development of a complex and comprehensive management plan.
What Is The Nature Of Supernumerary Teeth Disorder?
Contrary to general belief, the eruption of additional teeth is common not only to the permanent but also to deciduous teeth. Still, as I have already mentioned, this dental condition is rare enough.
According to Dr. Brook’s study, the incidence of supernumerary teeth is about 2.1% of permanent teeth cases and not more than 0.8% of deciduous teeth cases. The cluster sample for Dr. Brook’s study involved thorough physical and radiographic dental check-ups of 2.000 school students.
The additional teeth develop either singly or in awkward pairs. What is more, they can occur anywhere within the patient’s oral cavity, but most commonly occupy the central area of the upper jaw, forming a supernumerary central maxillary incisor. All cases of supernumerary teeth are subdivided according to the location and misalignment type of the additional teeth.
According to the incidence of supernumerary teeth, only a small number of such teeth manage to go through all the natural eruption steps; therefore, the vast majority of supernumerary teeth become severely impacted. Even when the extra tooth successfully cuts through the gum line, it usually gets inverted due to the lack of space for its normal development.
What Are the Causes of Supernumerary Teeth Disorder?
Scientists all over the world still fail to reach a consensus on the causes of eruption of additional teeth. The overwhelming majority of them associate the development of supernumerary teeth with a poor hereditary pattern. However, even though this theory has solid scientific grounds, it still fails to cover cases when the affected individuals have no relatives with the relevant dental disorder.
This fact provides the basis for the introduction of further theories to explain supernumerary teeth. In some non-genetic cases, patients develop their extra teeth as a result of hyperactivity of their dental lamina at the embryonic development stage. In the same phase, the arrival of supernumerary teeth might be linked to the tooth bud dichotomy, which basically provides the basis for development of two teeth from a single socket.
Dental care professionals agree that the chances of supernumerary teeth rise sharply when the patient suffers from such orthodontic disorders as cleft lip, palate or, certainly, cleidocranial dysplasia. Finally, the general health condition termed Gardner syndrome is widely associated with the increased incidence of supernumerary teeth. This syndrome is closely linked to the uncontrolled development of tumors, including odontoma, which obviously negatively affects the patient’s teething pattern.
What Are the Potential Complications of Supernumerary Teeth Disorder?
Dental care providers never stop warning their patients that untreated supernumerary teeth not only commonly get impacted themselves, but also cause their nearby teeth to get impacted, or at least misaligned.
The first problem arrives in cases when the additional tooth arrives prior to the adjacent one and literally takes up its space, thus hindering or even preventing it from eruption. Misalignment associated cases commonly result from uncontrolled eruption of an additional tooth. The extent of these misalignments ranges from mild rotation to the complete displacement of adjacent teeth.
Such severe misalignments of teeth are not only linked to purely aesthetic concerns. By acquiring an awkward position, these teeth obviously hinder adequate oral hygiene and thus raise the odds of developing dental caries and periodontal disease dramatically.
Equally commonly, the supernumerary teeth trigger the orthodontic disorder of oral cavity crowding, which primarily hinders the cleaning routine of inner teeth spaces. Naturally, the intensive spontaneous eruption of extra teeth also eventually leads to bad bite disorders.
Still, these orthodontic complications are not the most dangerous ones. Dental care experts warn that the supernumerary teeth disorder is sometimes, associated with formation of an oral cyst or, in rare cases, even with resorption of the roots of both additional and adjacent teeth.
How Is the Supernumerary Teeth Disorder Diagnosed?
The majority of supernumerary teeth cases are first identified during a routine physical examination. However, the further treatment of the disorder necessitates radiographic diagnosis. This dental procedure is also the only way to reveal severely impacted, not to mention, asymptotic supernumerary teeth.
How Is the Supernumerary Teeth Disorder Treated?
The good news is that mildly misaligned supernumerary teeth with no signs of related pathology or severe displacement of neighboring teeth, can be successfully handled with such commonly used dental appliances as braces or even retainers.
However, impacted or badly displaced supernumerary teeth are commonly removed. This is also true of even mildly affected additional teeth which considerably hinder, or even prevent their adjacent teeth from their natural eruption. In some severe tooth-crowding cases, not only the extra but also adjacent teeth are to be extracted.
Supernumerary teeth cases associated with pathology require the most thorough treatment and monitoring. For instance, cases of cleft lip, palate, not to mention cyst, call for complex work of the entire team of medical care experts and frequently end up in removal of the affected supernumerary teeth.
Still, supernumerary teeth should not be extracted if their removal can potentially lead to the death of their neighboring teeth. This makes a timely consultation with an experienced dental care provider imperative.
What Should I Know Prior to Undergoing Any Dental Treatments?
Also, note that grafting and implant placement procedures of the supporting bone require very careful preparation for patients with supernumerary teeth disorder.
Finally, remember to consult with your medical care provider if you have supernumerary teeth, no matter if they cause you any apparent discomfort or not.