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  • Dr. Barry Yu



Supernumerary teeth, also known as extra teeth, are additional teeth that develop beyond the normal set of primary or permanent dentition. While having an extra tooth may seem like a rare occurrence, it's actually more common than you might think, affecting up to 4% of the population. In this article, we'll explore what to do when you discover you have an extra tooth and the options available for managing this dental anomaly.


Understanding Supernumerary Teeth

Supernumerary teeth can manifest in various forms, including:

  • Mesiodens: Extra teeth that appear in the middle of the upper jaw, often between the two central incisors.

  • Paramolars and distomolars: Additional molars that develop behind the last molar in the dental arch.

  • Supplemental teeth: Extra teeth that resemble the normal dentition and may be found in any location within the dental arch.


What to Do When You Have an Extra Tooth

Discovering that you have an extra tooth can be surprising, but it's important to take action to address the issue and prevent potential complications.


Here's what you can do:

Consult with a Dentist: 

Schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist to evaluate the extra tooth and assess its impact on your dental health. Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination, including dental X-rays, to determine the type, location, and potential consequences of the supernumerary tooth.

Consider Treatment Options: 

Depending on the size, position, and alignment of the extra tooth, your dentist may recommend one of the following treatment options:

  • Observation: If the supernumerary tooth is small, asymptomatic, and unlikely to cause problems, your dentist may recommend monitoring it closely without intervention.

  • Extraction: If the extra tooth is causing crowding, misalignment, or other dental issues, your dentist may recommend extracting it to prevent complications and preserve oral health.

  • Orthodontic Treatment: In cases where the supernumerary tooth affects dental alignment or occlusion, orthodontic treatment such as braces or aligners may be necessary to reposition the teeth and achieve optimal alignment. Follow-up Care: After undergoing treatment for the extra tooth, it's important to follow your dentist's post-operative instructions and attend regular dental check-ups to monitor your oral health and ensure optimal healing.

Potential Complications of Supernumerary Teeth

While supernumerary teeth are generally harmless and may not require treatment if they are small and asymptomatic, there is a risk of complications in some cases. One potential complication is the development of a cyst or tumor around an impacted supernumerary tooth. This can occur when the supernumerary tooth is unable to erupt normally and becomes impacted, leading to the formation of a follicular cyst around the tooth's crown.

If left untreated, a follicular cyst can grow and, in rare cases, develop into a dentigerous cyst or odontogenic tumor. However, it's important to note that the development of cysts or tumors from supernumerary teeth is uncommon and typically only occurs in a small percentage of cases. Regular dental check-ups and monitoring of any supernumerary teeth by a dentist or orthodontist can help prevent potential issues and ensure early intervention if necessary.

Supernumerary teeth are a relatively common dental anomaly that requires attention and management to prevent potential complications and preserve oral health. By consulting with your dentist, considering treatment options, and addressing the issue promptly, you can effectively manage supernumerary teeth and maintain a healthy, functional smile. Remember, early intervention is key to minimizing the impact of extra teeth on your dental health and ensuring optimal outcomes in the long term.



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About Authors


Graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis (U.S.A.), major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Yu has further obtained his dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (U.S.A.).  Dr. Yu is qualified to practice in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has over 10 years of practicing experience in the US before starting both practices in Hong Kong and Singapore.


Dr. Chrissie Lam graduated from University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.) with a bachelor degree in Nutritional Science before earning her doctorate degree in dentistry from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (U.S.A.). In her 10 years of practice she took care of her patients, both in U.S.A. and Singapore with her warm demeanor and excellent clinical skills. 

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