4 Facts for Parents About Hyperdontia in Children

4 Facts for Parents About Hyperdontia in Children
Posted on 03/27/2018

Extra teeth can grow in front of or behind the baby teeth inside the mouth of a small child. An extra tooth may begin growing between the two front permanent teeth of an older child. Two peg-shaped teeth may form behind a child's top incisors. An entire extra mouthful of tooth buds can grow alongside a child's actual teeth.

These are examples of a condition called hyperdontia. Whether the extra teeth form near deciduous or permanent teeth, they're called supernumerary teeth. This condition can be painful and affect a child's eating and speaking abilities, although some children show no adverse effects. Here are four more things parents should know about hyperdontia.

1. Hyperdontia Affects a Variety of Children

Supernumerary teeth occur in boys and girls equally when it comes to extra teeth growing near baby (impermanent) teeth. However, boys are twice as likely to develop permanent supernumerary teeth that don't fall out with baby teeth. Parents often notice the condition when children are toddlers. The condition is sometimes first noted when a child begins losing their baby teeth in early school grades.

Children with certain childhood anomalies and diseases show a higher prevalence of developing hyperdontia. These conditions include:

  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleidocranial dysplasia
  • Gardner's syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndromes

Studies show that one to two percent of otherwise healthy children may develop extra teeth. Genetic studies show there may be some children who inherit the condition.

While researchers have not reached an agreed-upon cause for hyperdontia, the disruption or stimulation of the cells in the jawline is a possible cause. Abnormal division of tooth buds has also been investigated as a cause. More research is needed to discover environmental and other triggers that lead to disruption, stimulation, and abnormal division of tooth buds in children.

2. Supernumerary Teeth Take Several Forms

Hyperdontia may affect one side of the mouth, both sides of the mouth, or only the front teeth. Supernumerary teeth may grow in between teeth or jammed against teeth in the front or rear of the child's baby or permanent teeth. These extra teeth can be situated in a way that causes a failure of permanent teeth to properly erupt from the jaw.

Extra teeth can be one of four types of supernumerary teeth. These are described as follows:

  • Conical — shaped like pegs or candy corn
  • Tuberculate — have extra growths and rarely erupt
  • Supplemental — mimic adjacent real teeth shapes

Another type of dental growth is called odontoma. Dental experts disagree over whether this is a form of hyperdontia or a different type of mouth growth altogether. In odontoma growths, masses of cells combine in the dental region. They may or may not include portions that resemble teeth.

3. Untreated Hyperdontia Sometimes Causes Problems for Children

Supernumerary teeth not only keep permanent teeth from erupting, they can also fuse with the permanent teeth. Abscesses, cavities, and infections are often the result since children can't adequately reach and brush all the nooks and crannies of the abnormal tooth growth.

Other dental and medical problems associated with hyperdontia include:

  • Movement and displacement of permanent teeth
  • Resorption of roots of adjacent teeth
  • Increase in tumor and cyst formation
  • Irregular facial appearance
  • Speech and nutrition problems

Fortunately, hyperdontia is usually easy to spot, diagnose, and treat. If you schedule routine dental visits for your child, your dentist will notice any extra teeth during their normal examinations of your child's mouth. Your pediatric dentist will spot tooth buds that don't erupt on x-rays and other diagnostic media.

4. Problematic Supernumerary Teeth Are Removed

If your child is not experiencing pain, speech problems, or other issues with a supernumerary tooth, the tooth may be left in place without any issues. As long as extra teeth aren't suppressing the eruption of a child's actual teeth, permanent harm from supernumerary teeth isn't likely without other symptoms.

You may wish to have supernumerary teeth extracted for aesthetic reasons. In some cases, your pediatric dentist can extract these extra teeth. In more involved cases, the services of a pediatric dental surgeon are necessary to remove the teeth safely.

In certain cases, extra teeth must be removed as soon as possible. When roots of adjacent teeth are being resorbed, the only way to save those teeth is to remove the supernumerary teeth.

If a patient is receiving an implant, a supernumerary tooth may be in the way of the implant site and must be extracted. If a child with a cleft palate or other issue needs a bone graft in the jawline or palate, dentists or dental surgeons must remove any supernumerary teeth affecting the graft site.

If you're concerned about extra teeth or other tooth abnormalities in your child's mouth, contact the staff at Treasured Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, LTD to schedule a dental exam for your child. We use the latest diagnostic techniques to discover the extent of hyperdontia, and we offer a full array of treatment options for the condition.