Friday, February 14, 2014

One Very Big Tooth?

Sometimes teeth come out in unusual shapes. Thank you to Shelly for sending in these awesome pictures. What do we have here? A double tooth!

Double teeth show up in two ways, twin teeth or fused teeth. In both cases, you see an unusually wide tooth in the front of the mouth. In twinning (also called "gemination"), two crowns grow from one root. But in fusion, two, separate teeth connect from the root up.

How can I tell the difference?
Count the number of teeth in the mouth. If the tooth is fused, there will be one less tooth in the mouth—the two roots only come up to one big crown. Geminated teeth will show the normal amount of teeth present.

Children have 20 teeth by age 2.
Adolescents have 28 teeth by age 12.
(Ages are approximate. Earlier/later eruption of teeth is perfectly normal.)

Do these teeth cause problems?
The only real concern is appearance. If the tooth is fused, there will be one less front tooth in the mouth come adulthood. The missing tooth can be replaced, but that may require orthodontics, implant surgery, or a fixed bridge (crowned adjacent teeth connected by a fake tooth in the middle).

To visually improve the geminated or fused tooth, the dentist can re-shape or crown it to reduce the size. Otherwise, these teeth can be cleaned, filled, and flossed like all the rest.   


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  2. I am 66 years old and I had exactly this and in the same position. Unfortunately there are no photographs. My second teeth came through and just as you say one was missing. I had a large front tooth, a small gap and then an eye tooth. As an adult my eye tooth has been crowned to look like the missing tooth. Thank you for the explanation.

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