More Teeth, More Problems!
While it may not be as overtly fascinating as having an extra finger or a third nipple, extra teeth or supernumerary teeth occur only in about 2% of the population within their adult set of teeth and in less than 1% of primary teeth. The condition can be referred to as polydontia or hyperdontia.
Now, before the kid in you gets too excited over the prospect of a little extra cash from the tooth fairy over an extra tooth, most of the population with hyperdontia are blissfully unaware of their extra tooth or teeth until they get an x-ray of the area. That’s because most supernumerary teeth don’t actually poke through the gums. The most common supernumerary tooth is the mesiodens (an extra tooth that forms between and just inside of the upper two front teeth). Other types include the rare fourth molar (paramolar or distomolar).
Ok, so why is an oral surgeon interested in supernumerary teeth, and why should you be as well? Well, apart from the fact that it’s an annoying tooth code ‘99’ on your insurance predetermination form, they may require extraction even if they haven’t yet appeared through the gums. The indications for removing these teeth are plentiful, even if they remain asymptomatic in some cases.
What are the reasons a supernumerary tooth may have to be surgically removed? Occasionally there is an associated pathology with the supernumerary teeth. They may also be responsible for permanent teeth failing to erupt, erupt fully, or they may delay this process. They can also cause adjacent teeth to be displaced. Supernumerary teeth may also have to be removed when their presence causes a risk of cavities because the patient finds it difficult to maintain oral hygiene because they are inaccessible. Occasionally supernumerary teeth can affect orthodontic treatment. Also, supernumerary teeth can also compromise alveolar bone grafting or implant placement. In the cases where there is an indication for extraction, an oral surgeon can ensure the surgery is carried out skillfully and with the utmost care.
As you can see there are a number of reasons why a pesky supernumerary may have to be extracted and reasons why you want a surgeon to take the utmost care performing the extraction. We’ll even let you keep the tooth! So the next time someone asks you who in your group of friends has a third nipple, you can one-up them with cool ‘99’ and proof!
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