Whilst tooth loss is a concern for many of us; for some, having too many teeth is a problem.
As we develop as young children, we should eventually have 20 baby, or milk, teeth. As we become adults, this number will grow and a healthy mouth should eventually consist of 32 teeth. This is not always the case though, and some adults also develop additional teeth.
Genetic factors and certain illnesses can contribute to this happening, and when it does, it can create a number of problems for the person concerned. It is particularly likely in people suffering from a Cleft lip, Gardner’s disease or Down syndrome. Twice as many men are likely to have this problem, than women.
In most cases of hyperdontia, just one or two extra teeth are likely to be present, but even more additional teeth are not unheard of. In one very rare case, 232 teeth were removed from a boy’s mouth in India (reference 1). Instances like this though are extremely rare and few people will have more than a couple of additional teeth. In some cases, hyperdontia can not only cause aesthetic problems, but can also lead to facial deformities and speech problems.
Not all additional teeth, also known as supernumerary teeth, may necessarily look like a natural tooth and can take many forms. These include small ‘peg’ like shapes, conical teeth and those that have a tooth like shape but are significantly smaller.
Also, not all additional teeth are necessarily visible, and some may not have yet erupted. These will show up during the x-rays that we take from time to time during your regular check ups.
The risks and complications