As children, we all get 20 primary (deciduous) teeth. When those teeth naturally fall out and permanent teeth grow in, the typical number of teeth is 32. For some people, however, extra teeth come in. This is known as hyperdontia.
Among those with hyperdontia, extra teeth can grow anywhere in the dental arches — the curved area in the mouth where your teeth attach to the jaw. Usually, those extra teeth grow very close to the permanent or primary teeth. Most of the time this condition happens in adults, and it’s more common in men than women.
How Hyperdontia is Diagnosed
If you think you have extra teeth, you probably have hyperdontia. Your dentist can help make an official diagnosis by examining your teeth. If the extra teeth haven’t grown in yet, your dentist can detect them through a dental X-ray.
Hyperdontia is often classified by the area in which the teeth grow:
- Mesiodens: The most common type, this is when an extra tooth grows behind or around your incisors (the four flat teeth at the front of your mouth used for biting.)
- Paramolar: When extra teeth grow in the back of your mouth, next to one of your molars.
- Distomolar: When an extra tooth grows in line with your other molars, instead of around them.
How Hyperdontia is Treated
While having hyperdontia usually isn’t painful, it can sometimes become uncomfortable when the extra teeth put pressure on your permanent teeth, jaw, or gums. In some cases, the extra teeth disrupt the proper growth of permanent teeth. They can negatively impact dental hygiene if they’re located in hard-to-reach areas. And in severe instances, cysts and tumors can form from hyperdontia.
In any of those circumstances, your dentist will likely recommend extraction (removal) of the extra teeth. It’s best to remove them sooner rather than later to avoid dental decay, gum disease, or crooked permanent teeth.
During a tooth extraction, your dentist will use a local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the tooth. Using forceps or another instrument, the dentist will grip the tooth and rock it back and forth to loosen. You may feel pressure but should not feel pain. If the tooth is impacted, the dentist will have to cut away some of the surrounding gums to get to the tooth.
Blood clots will naturally form in the open space after the tooth is removed. Your dentist may place a few self-dissolving stitches if needed. Recovery may take a few days, depending on the type of extraction and how many teeth are removed. But generally you should feel better in less than a week.
Not sure if you need tooth removal for your hyperdontia? Talk to your dentist if you experience:
- Weakness in your mouth
In mild cases of discomfort, your dentist may recommend taking an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
Remember: A hyperdontia diagnosis may seem overwhelming, but the condition is treatable by a dental professional. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the best next steps for you.
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