Have you ever met one of those people (they’re everywhere) who seem to have a tooth on top of a tooth or two frontal teeth vying for the spotlight? This is actually a common occurrence at least to the extent that virtually everyone has either experienced this personally or has seen someone else with the problem. In many cases, these people are children whose parents see to it that budding signs of such things are nipped, but there remain so many adults who do not undergo the necessary procedures to deal with their real problem, which is that they simply have too many teeth.
They’ve simply started a whole new row because the number of rows with which they were born has proven insufficient. The reality of the situation is that this is a very common condition called hyperdontia, and it is most fundamentally the overcrowding of the jaw by way of too many teeth. It is a condition that is also closely associated with Gardner’s Syndrome and cleidocranialdysostosis because these are disorders that typically engender or are accompanied by hyperdontia.
Different Types of Hyperdontia
To be clear, hyperdontia is characterized by the jaw’s development of what are often called supernumerary teeth; these are additional teeth that crowd into the jaw just to run up the score. Indeed, your jaw thought this was about who could sprout the most teeth, and your jaw would not be denied victory this day. At any rate, these extra teeth can manifest just about anywhere in the dental arch, and they can also impinge upon the efficiency or functions of just about any dental organ. As such, it’s fairly important that these things not be allowed to happen for obvious reasons, which is where your dentist comes into play of course.
You can actually classify supernumerary teeth based on where they emerge, how they position themselves, and what shape they assume. The shapes in particular say a lot about what kind of teeth are emerging. For example, if a tooth has the shape considered normal for teeth in the series that it is interrupting or eclipsing, it is usually termed a supplemental tooth whereas, if the tooth in question is somewhat barrel shaped, then the tooth is called tuberculate. Sometimes supernumerary teeth break through the gums and reveal themselves to be somewhat peg shaped in a way, and these are just called conical teeth, but there are others that sometimes sprout what can appear to be clusters of multiple small teeth and with no describable shape; the latter tend to be the least attractive and most memorable of the supernumerary teeth you’re likely to see, and they are called compound odontoma. If you see something even more inscrutable than this, though, it is called a complex odontoma, which is essentially not a tooth at all but, rather, a formless mass of dental tissue.
Supernumerary teeth, as mentioned previously, are often classified according to their positioning as well as their shape. The previously mentioned, shape-related terms are all separate from other terms that can be used in tandem or alone to also communicate the positioning of these teeth, and be assured that your dentist has likely seen most of these issues before. There are three main positions that are likely to classify supernumerary teeth, and those are mesiodens, paramolar, and distomolar. Most commonly what dentists are likely to encounter are mesiodens teeth, and if you have supernumerary teeth and you’ve challenged your dentist to guess its position, this is precisely what he or she is most likely to guess offhand. It is a malformed tooth that emerges in between the maxillary central incisors.
Causes & Concerns
The field of genetics has provided in recent research evidence that there are hereditary factors that contribute to one’s likelihood of hyperdontia. There are also environmental contributors that are believed to play a role and yielding hyperdontia. Ultimately, no one has pinned down the root causes of hyperdontia. Ordinarily, though, most people only experience hyperdontia with one out-of-place tooth, and not everyone is bothered enough by it to take the matter to a dentist, especially if it’s simply not part of the budget. It is rare for people to experience hyperdontia with more than one tooth. The eruption of supernumerary teeth can, however, delay the eruption of other teeth in their proper positions. Dental X-rays typically spot indicators of hyperdontia early.