Hyperdontia

Hyperdontia is when you have extra teeth. These extra teeth might grow on one or both sides of your mouth. You might have several extra teeth, or just one. Hyperdontia doesn’t always require treatment. But dentists recommend removing extra teeth if they interfere with oral health or function.

Overview

What is hyperdontia?

Hyperdontia is the medical term for supernumerary teeth (extra teeth). People with hyperdontia may have:

  • One extra tooth or several extra teeth.
  • Extra teeth on one or both sides of their mouth.
  • Extra teeth on their upper jaw, lower jaw or both. (Hyperdontia is much more common in your upper jaw.)
  • Extra teeth that appear alone or in clusters.
  • Visible (erupted) extra teeth or hidden (impacted) extra teeth.

Hyperdontia affects primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth, meaning anyone can have it. Typically, children have a total of 20 primary teeth and adults have a total of 32 permanent teeth. So, children with more than 20 teeth and adults with more than 32 teeth have hyperdontia.

Is it rare to have hyperdontia?

Hyperdontia is uncommon, representing about 1% to 3% of all dental abnormalities. It affects up to 3.8% of permanent (adult) teeth and up to 0.6% of primary (baby) teeth. In adults, hyperdontia is twice as common in men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB).

Types of supernumerary teeth

Dentists classify extra teeth according to their location in your mouth:

  • Mesiodens are the most common type of extra teeth. They grow directly behind your upper front teeth.
  • Paramolars grow (erupt) next to your molars (toward your tongue or cheek).
  • Distomolars erupt in line with (behind) the rest of your molar teeth.

Supernumerary teeth also have different shapes, including:

  • Conical (cone-shaped).
  • Supplemental (an extra tooth that’s shaped like a typical tooth).
  • Tuberculate (barrel-shaped).
  • Odontoma (a harmless, noncancerous tumor that looks like a mass or an abnormally shaped tooth).
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Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of hyperdontia?

The hallmark hyperdontia symptom is one or more extra teeth.

In most cases, hyperdontia doesn’t cause discomfort. But if an extra tooth puts too much pressure on your gums or jaws, you can develop:

  • Pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Tenderness.
  • Overcrowding.
  • Infection.

What causes hyperdontia?

Experts aren’t exactly sure what causes hyperdontia, but they’ve identified several factors that can contribute to the condition, including:

  • Genetics.
  • Overactive dental lamina (the cells responsible for tooth development).
  • Atavism — when an ancestral genetic trait reappears. (For example, it’s possible that our ancestors needed extra teeth to grind up raw nuts and plants in their primitive diet.)
  • Certain health conditions.

Conditions associated with hyperdontia

It’s not always clear why some people have hyperdontia and others don’t. But supernumerary teeth are more common in people with certain conditions, like:

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What are the complications of hyperdontia?

In some cases, hyperdontia doesn’t cause any complications. But depending on the location of your extra teeth, you might develop:

  • Tooth impaction (when a tooth becomes partially or fully trapped in your jawbone).
  • Chewing issues.
  • Overcrowding.
  • Crooked teeth.
  • Malocclusion (a “bad bite”).
  • Tooth decay (cavities).
  • Gum disease.
  • Formation of oral cysts (noncancerous).

Diagnosis and Tests

How do healthcare providers diagnose hyperdontia?

Dentists can diagnose hyperdontia during a routine examination. If extra teeth have erupted (grown in), they’ll be able to see them by looking inside your mouth. They can also take dental X-rays or CT (computed tomography) scans to see any impacted supernumerary teeth.

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Management and Treatment

How is hyperdontia treated?

Not everyone needs hyperdontia treatment. But if your extra teeth interfere with your oral health or chewing function, your dentist may recommend removing them. For example, you might need a tooth extraction if you:

  • Have difficulty chewing properly.
  • Feel pain or discomfort.
  • Have difficulty brushing or flossing properly.
  • Have embarrassment about the way your extra teeth look.

If you have mild, occasional discomfort due to hyperdontia, it might help to take an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like ibuprofen (Advil®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve®).

Prevention

Can I prevent hyperdontia?

No, you can’t prevent hyperdontia. While there’s nothing you can do to keep your child from developing extra teeth, early detection and treatment can help reduce your risk for complications.

Outlook / Prognosis

How serious is hyperdontia?

Having extra teeth isn’t a dangerous or life-threatening condition. Many people with hyperdontia don’t need to do anything. But in some cases, untreated hyperdontia can increase your risk for cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues.

If you think you have extra teeth, ask a healthcare provider to do an examination. If hyperdontia interferes with your oral health or function, your provider can discuss your treatment options with you.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Visit your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. These appointments can help reduce your risk of cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues. And if you have supernumerary teeth, your dentist can examine them during each visit to see whether they’re causing issues.

You should also let your dentist know any time you develop mouth or tooth pain. Prompt treatment can help reduce your risk of long-term complications.

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?

If you have hyperdontia, here are some questions you might want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • Do you know what caused hyperdontia in my case?
  • Should I get genetic testing to check for underlying health conditions?
  • Do I need to have any teeth removed?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Maybe you’ve known for a while that you have hyperdontia. Or maybe you only found out after your dentist took X-rays. Having supernumerary teeth isn’t common, but it’s generally harmless. As long as your extra teeth aren’t causing pain or chewing issues, you probably don’t need to do anything. But be sure to call your healthcare provider at the first sign of trouble. Early treatment can reduce your risk of long-term issues.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/03/2023.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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