Have you been wondering what the ideal number of teeth is? Most adults have 32 teeth, but most people have all four wisdom teeth removed, so we can get by with just 28. In some cases, a genetic anomaly causes some people to be born with more than 32 teeth.

These people have a condition called hyperdontia, in which they have more teeth than normal. Sometimes, these teeth can be found adjacent to or behind normal teeth. The displacement of normal teeth may also prevent them from developing properly, causing both discomfort and infection.

Having too many teeth is called hyperdontia. This article discusses what hyperdontia is, how it manifests, and how it can be treated. First, let’s look at how hyperdontia affected a renowned, highly gifted artist.

Freddy Mercury’s Hyperdontia

Queen’s lead singer, Freddy Mercury, was known for his brilliant songwriting and four-octave vocal range. In addition, he had an overbite due to the addition of four extra teeth, overcrowding his mouth and pushing his upper teeth forward.

Even though he was embarrassed by how his teeth made him look, he refused to get them fixed. As a result of this condition, he believed he could produce a remarkable range of sounds, which was due to having more space in his mouth.

Though experts found no correlation between Freddy Mercury’s talent and hyperdontia, he held on to his belief and chose to live with his condition.

What Is Hyperdontia?

Hyperdontia is the condition of having too many teeth. There are one or more supernumerary teeth out of the standard 32 in adults.

The majority grow behind the upper front teeth, but they can also grow nearby the molars. Depending on their shape and features, they may look like regular teeth. Their growth may cause them to emerge above the gum (erupted) or remain below the gum (impacted). A few may even appear inverted.

About 3.8 percent of the population suffers from hyperdontia, more prevalent in men

What Are the Causes of Hyperdontia?

Research on hyperdontia has not yet determined its exact cause. However, there is evidence that hyperdontia is inherited, as rates are higher among family members. Environmental factors may also play a role. 

There are several inherited conditions associated with hyperdontia, including:

  • Having Gardner syndrome (prone to tumors);
  • Having a disease that causes fats to not be broken down (Fabry disease);
  • Cleidocranial dysostosis (bone deformities, particularly of the skull and collarbone);
  • A syndrome characterized by loose joints, bruising, scoliosis, muscle pain, and joint pain (Ehlers-Danlos);
  • Having a cleft lip or palate.

It is rare to develop multiple extra teeth in people without additional diseases or conditions such as those listed above.

What Are the Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hyperdontia?

The most obvious sign of hyperdontia is the presence of extra teeth. In most cases, extra teeth are detected among the permanent teeth of an adult. In contrast, the extra teeth can blend in more easily with normal teeth when a child still has primary teeth (baby teeth). Upon erupting, they appear to be in good shape and aligned with other teeth. As a result, they are easily overlooked.

Under certain circumstances, impacted teeth remain below the gum line. Therefore, they are unlikely to be detected without the use of an X-ray. In addition, supernumerary teeth can prevent normal teeth from erupting, causing the dentist to examine the patient to determine the cause of the delay. One study reported that supernumerary teeth delayed the eruption of normal teeth in 26 to 52 percent of cases. The opposite is true in 28 to 63 percent of cases, where the adjacent normal teeth were displaced or rotated.

Supernumerary teeth can create a host of other problems in addition to causing the eruption of normal teeth to be delayed. Normal teeth may be crowded, misaligned, or impacted. There is also the possibility of cysts, infections, and abnormal root growth. In another study, 11 percent of people with supernumerary teeth had cysts.

Your teeth can be difficult to clean thoroughly due to the extra teeth you might have. Since they are so tightly pressed together, removing all of the plaque can be challenging. Ultimately, this can lead to inflammation, infection, and interfere with orthodontic treatment.

How to Treat Hyperdontia?

The type of treatment for hyperdontia depends on each individual’s condition, including how the extra teeth are positioned in relation to the normal teeth, the shape of the extra teeth, and the problems the extra teeth are causing. Depending on the severity of the hyperdontia, one can do nothing or have hyperdontia surgery performed.

There is no need to remove extra teeth if they are not causing any problems. If, however, you want to have your supernumerary teeth removed, a hyperdontia extraction will help you achieve your goals.

It’s possible that the extra teeth are causing some trouble and will need to be dealt with. The extra teeth must be removed if they harm the normal teeth or interfere with regular dental care.

Hyperdontia surgery involving children may be more complicated. Experts are divided on when hyperdontia extraction should take place. Rather than proceed right away, some believe it is better to wait until the child is at least eight years old, when the roots of regular teeth have formed.

Supernumerary teeth can be removed with a simple extraction, but hyperdontia surgery may be necessary if they are impacted. If the teeth are too close together, it may also be difficult to remove them without causing damage to the normal teeth and surrounding tissues. To make the right decision, one must consider a lot of thought, planning, and care.

Studies have shown that within a year and a half after hyperdontia removal, incisors previously impacted by extra teeth erupt at a rate of 90 percent. Despite this, there is room for improvement.

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Doctors are still unsure of the cause of hyperdontia, but once the condition has been thoroughly examined, it can be successfully treated. Furthermore, as a result of other inherited disorders that may result in supernumerary teeth, there are many things the individual should consider to improve their overall health.

In most cases, this can be corrected by the alignment of the remaining normal teeth and the hyperdontia extraction. While it is unlikely they will sing like Freddy Mercury, a healthy mouth can help you smile and have a good time!
Are you ready to discuss more on hyperdontia with an orthodontist? Do not hesitate to schedule a complimentary consultation at Patuxent Orthodontics! In the meantime, make sure to check out our blog for more information on orthodontic treatments.