Why some people get extra teeth and what to do about it

Supernumerary teeth or “extra teeth” is a topic not often discussed. This is when there are more teeth than normal in either a child or adult mouth. You can get extra baby or adult teeth and often they come through in very unusual positions. For example, an extra tooth that comes through in the roof of the mouth is known as a mesiodens. Extra teeth in kids can actually be linked to some medical conditions. Therefore, it is worth getting your kids teeth checked early in life as extra teeth can provide clues to underlying medical concerns. At Riverstone Family Dental we have seen kids as young as 6 months old. If you have any concerns, please give us a call on 8678 3538.

Hyperdontia (extra teeth)

The usual amount of teeth is 20 for baby teeth and 32 for adult teeth (including wisdom teeth). By 36 months, all baby teeth should have come through and by 12 years of age, most adult teeth are fully through. Hyperdontia is more common than you would think, affecting approximately 5% of the population. Hyperdontia is a condition where you have more teeth in your mouth than normal. The extra teeth are known as supernumerary teeth. It affects twice the amount of men than women. The most common supernumerary teeth are the front teeth in the upper jaw. Some studies show this rate can be as high as 98% of extra teeth. Extra teeth can either have a recognisable tooth shape or look completely different such as more conical or rounded. Extra teeth can be completely random and not traced back to any particular cause. However, there are times when medical conditions have extra teeth as part of their distinctive traits. These medical conditions include:

  • Cleidocranial dysplasia
  • Gardner syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Cleft lip and palate


What problems can hyperdontia cause?

Extra teeth can pose many cosmetic and functional problems in a healthy mouth. From a functional perspective, the extra tooth can prevent an adult tooth from erupting properly. In some rare cases, it can also fuse with the adult tooth. Another problem is that the extra tooth can cause crowding of the other teeth. Straight teeth can start to overlap with the presence of a new tooth. Speech, eating, oral hygiene and self-esteem may be affected by the crowding of the teeth. Rarely, extra teeth can form cysts or tumours around them. If this is picked up on an x-ray, removal of these extra teeth is required.

What to do about hyperdontia

Your dentist will diagnose whether or not you have extra teeth. They may do this by examining your mouth and taking some x-rays. The available space in your mouth, your bite and the appearance of the extra tooth all come into consideration when treatment planning. In most cases, the extra tooth is extracted (removed). Preferably as soon as possible. This is why early diagnosis is very important. It is worth noting the following hints when weighing up your options:

  • Conical-shaped extra teeth usually erupt into the mouth and are easily extracted
  • If an extra tooth is still in the bone but is in the path of eruption of a normal adult tooth, then it may need to be surgically extracted
  • A 3D scan to visualise the position of the extra tooth will accurately show your dentist where the tooth is sitting compared to the other structures around it
  • If the presence of an extra tooth has disrupted the position of the other teeth in the mouth orthodontic treatment may be required


I hope you have found this blog helpful. There are not many resources about this topic. If you find yourself questioning whether you or your child has an extra tooth, then it is worth booking in for a dental consultation. Need a caring, family dentist? Give us a call at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

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