Deciding To Leave Or Remove Supernumerary Primary Teeth In Children

The average child has 20 primary, or baby, teeth, but in a few rare cases, a child may develop one or more additional teeth, known as supernumerary teeth, in their primary set. Many parents do not even notice these extra teeth erupting until their family dentist points them out, and they often fail to erupt at all. Although they may seem harmless, supernumerary primary teeth can cause a number of issues when ignored, most commonly overcrowding, impaction or interference with budding permanent teeth. Deciding whether to leave these teeth in place or extract them surgically is typically decided by where and how they form.  

Identifying Extra Primary Teeth

Generally, extra teeth are only noticed within the dentist's office, though they occasionally erupt at odd angles or in a painful position. Your dentist may spot the tooth lurking below your child's gum-line during a standard radiograph or see it crowding its way through the regular set of primary teeth. Once one or more supernumerary teeth have been identified, your child may need to undergo more extensive imaging to get a better look at their size, shape and surroundings. Because this condition is occasionally linked to other genetic or developmental disorders, your dentist may also recommend other medical tests as well. 

Determining the Severity of Supernumerary Teeth

Supernumerary teeth are not necessarily harmful and may prove to have no impact whatsoever on your child's long-term dental health. In cases where the tooth erupts normally and integrates well with the rest of the set, there may be no need to remove it at all. Often, however, the extra tooth leads to complications with the child's bite or interferes with emerging adult teeth, or it may never erupt and block other teeth as they move up to the gum-line. Choosing a dentist who is skilled in children's dentistry can help ensure that the right call is made between letting the tooth develop normally or removing it before it can cause trouble. 

Extracting Supernumerary Teeth 

When necessary, it is typically better to remove the extra tooth and guarantee that your child's adult set have the space and clearance they need to grow properly. This procedure can be a tricky one due to its proximity to other teeth, but it is usually successful, and your child should be back to eating, speaking and smiling normally within a few days or weeks. If your child has an extra tooth and you aren't sure what to do next call your local children's dentistry office to schedule a more thorough evaluation and begin weighing the advantages and disadvantages of your child's unique situation. 

To learn more, contact a dental clinic like Picone Dental - Vincent J Picone DDS