The boy with the extra set of teeth

By | November 29, 2008

garvey1At the age of 5, my son Jayan had a routine set of dental X-rays that showed a disturbing fact.

The X-rays revealed that he possessed not one, not two, but three sets of front teeth. There were his baby teeth, his permanent teeth and in between, an extra set. A bonus pair, if you will.

I reacted the way any parent would upon discovering their child has an extra body part:
I freaked. “He has what?!” I yelled at my husband, who had taken him to the appointment. (Having a general fear of dentistry, I avoid going whenever possible.) ..

Humans are normally born with 20 baby teeth and have 32 permanent teeth. As it turns out, Jayan is the proud owner of supernumerary teeth, which are teeth additional to the regular number of chompers and can be found in almost any region of the horseshoe-shaped dental arch. They are most common in the central incisors, or front teeth.

Supernumerary teeth are often hereditary, although pediatric dentist Patrick Arnold of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says it’s hard to tell what causes them. “A portion of the developing tissue from early on may get pushed off and a tooth bud might split. Or, there also might be hyperactivity of the dental lamina, which is the precursor to a tooth.”

It’s also unclear how common supernumerary teeth are in children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry cites a 1999 report in the Journal of Canadian Dental Association, where in a survey of 2,000 British schoolchildren, researchers found that supernumerary teeth were present in 0.8 percent of kids who still had baby teeth. Of the children who already had their permanent teeth, 2.1 percent had supernumeraries.

… – msn

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