Hyperdontia is a peculiar and quite rare dental problem which involves the growth of excess number of teeth. It can appear during birth and last till the primary teeth fall out to be replaced by the permanent set of teeth, or appear with the rise of the permanent teeth. If a person shows a tendency to grow more than 20 temporary teeth or more than 32 permanent teeth, he or she suffers from hyperdontia.
Where do the additional teeth occur?
The additional teeth or supernumerary teeth can appear anywhere inside the mouth or dental arch, but the most common ones are called wisdom teeth and they grow as anterior molars after a certain age. Extra teeth in new born infants are called natal teeth. Occurrence of more than 4-6 supernumerary teeth is rare, although there have been known cases of more than 30 supernumerary teeth.
Why does hyperdontia occur?
1. Hyperdontia often occurs in association with a few select disorders like cleidocranial dysplasia, Ehler - Danlos syndrome, Gardner syndrome, and cleft lip and palate.
2. Although the exact cause of hyperdontia has not yet been discovered, some studies have shown that it might be a result of over activity of dental lamina during the phase of tooth development in infancy.
3. It could also possibly be due to genetic or environmental factors.
What problems does it pose and how can hyperdontia be corrected?
1. The existence of extra teeth often causes problems in speaking.
2. It may also cause deformation in the mouth region, and impediments in a lot of other functional activities like eating.
3. In rare cases, the extra tooth/teeth may be agents of tumors or cysts.
4. Therefore, treatment must be swiftly undertaken so as to remove the extra teeth and prevent rise of further teeth in the same spot.
5. Sometimes, hyperdontia also leads to overcrowding and misshapen rows of teeth; this can also be corrected with extensive procedures.