All You Need to Know About Supernumerary Teeth 

What Are Supernumerary Teeth?

Before discussing anything else, let’s first establish what supernumerary teeth are. Essentially, supernumerary teeth are teeth that appear in addition to your normal series of permanent or deciduous teeth. You can have a single supernumerary tooth or a multitude of them, they can appear unilaterally or bilaterally, they can be impacted or erupt, and they can pop up in one or both jaws. Though, they more commonly appear in the anterior maxillary region. 

While, in some cases, they might not seem like a full-on dental emergency, supernumerary teeth are still very much capable of causing complications. So, it’s best to ask for a dentist’s device if you feel like your teeth are acting funny. 

You can do that by visiting NextGen Dental & Orthodontics in Wheeling, since they cover all different branches of dentistry, from orthodontics to cosmetic dentistry, and more

And, with the wide variety of dental services, NextGen can help you with all those dental troubles with the highest quality care Wheeling has to offer. Now, without further ado, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of figuring out all those extra teeth. 

The Appearance of Supernumerary Teeth

To figure out whether you’re dealing with a supernumerary tooth, you first need to know what they look like. Yes, they do differ from your normal teeth in most cases, though they will resemble your normal ones more often. These are called supplemental supernumerary teeth and are on the rare side. You will more commonly encounter supernumerary teeth that are abnormal in size and/or shape. That means they are often smaller than the rest or have an unusual shape.

While they often appear near the rest of your teeth, supernumerary teeth have been known to appear in the oddest of places. Sometimes, they’ll appear on the roof of the mouth, and in rare cases, appearances in the nasal cavity have also been documented. However, the most common type includes mesiodens, which are supernumerary teeth between the two upper front teeth. 

Sometimes, however, supernumerary teeth aren’t visible at all and will only be observable via X-ray, so it’s important to keep that in mind as well.

Types of Supernumerary Teeth 

We already mentioned that supernumerary teeth could often appear as misshaped. So, let’s expand on that a bit and go over the types and classifications of supernumerary teeth. 

  • Conical – This type of supernumerary tooth is the most common one. They are known to occur alongside permanent teeth. Conical supernumerary teeth have a normal root and tend to appear near central incisors, which can be harmful to them since conical teeth can potentially displace them. 
  • Tuberculate – These supernumerary teeth are shaped like barrels and occur in the gums. Tuberculate teeth have abnormal roots and rarely erupt, and they are usually located on the palate near the central incisors and can disrupt or delay their eruption.
  • Supplemental – These are the most common type found when it comes to baby teeth, and they usually appear near lateral incisors when they erupt.
  • Molariform – This type has a complete root. Molatiform teeth tend to resemble premolars in shape, and they often appear next to molars.

Causes of Supernumerary Teeth

It’s important to state that clear causes of supernumerary teeth are largely uncertain. However, some factors can contribute to their occurrence, and it’s also still unknown whether or not environmental factors have any play in the occurrence of supernumerary teeth. On the other hand, there are some conditions associated with this dental issue, including the following:

  • Cleft lip and palate –  A notable percentage of people with this condition tend to develop supernumerary teeth.
  • Cleidocranial dysplasia – Affecting the development of teeth and bones, this condition is also linked to the occurrence of additional teeth.
  • Down syndrome – There is a high prevalence of supernumerary teeth among patients with this genetic disorder. 
  • Ehler-Danlos syndrome – This disorder is actually a set of disorders, and it’s inheritable. In certain patients with Ehler-Danlos syndrome, supernumerary teeth have been known to occur.
  • Gardner syndrome – Dental abnormalities, including supernumerary teeth, affect around 30% of patients diagnosed with Gardner syndrome. 

Complications Caused by Supernumerary Teeth 

Supernumerary teeth are known to cause a whole plethora of dental problems without proper interference. These problems can impact normal oral functions and can even cause health problems, as well as cosmetic ones. Some of these problems include:

  • Problems with the eruption of permanent teeth
  • Displacement, crowding, and misalignment of permanent teeth
  • Chewing problems
  • Fusion with normal permanent teeth
  • Premature closure of the spaces between the teeth
  • Oral cyst and tumor formation
  • Eruption of teeth in the nasal cavity
  • Issues with bone grafting, which is necessary for dental implants
  • Dentigerous cyst formation

Treatment Options for Supernumerary Teeth 

Identifying and treating supernumerary teeth as soon as possible is of utmost importance. After all, if not treated, they can cause some of the complications listed in the section above. 

The most important thing when it comes to identifying supernumerary teeth is regular visits to the dentist. After all, not all supernumerary teeth are as easily detectable, and a dentist will always be able to give you the best possible advice and treatment solution. 

In most cases, your dentist will suggest tooth extraction as a treatment option for supernumerary teeth. That can be done under local or general anesthesia as a typical treatment solution for this problem. However, when it may present an issue, cutting and removing the supernumerary tooth in pieces is also an option.

While supernumerary teeth occur in adults, too, they mainly occur in children. In those cases, they should be addressed and handled early on to avoid potential issues that may pop up in the future. Also, it’s best to consult orthodontists or pediatric dentists since the latter are specifically trained in dealing with issues regarding children’s dental health. 

If supernumerary teeth end up getting fused with permanent teeth, this will require endodontic treatment, simply known as a root canal, where the tooth pulp and the surrounding tissue will be treated.