Does Your Child Have Extra Wisdom Teeth?

Posted on: 4 August 2018


Most people have four wisdom teeth (known as the third molars) or fewer. If you are taking your child in to the dentist to have his or her wisdom teeth extracted, you may be surprised to find they have more than four that need to be taken out. Extra teeth—not just wisdom teeth—are known as supernumerary teeth. Your dentist can usually see these teeth on your child's digital x-rays or as they erupt from the gums. Read on to learn more about supernumerary teeth and why they should be extracted.

What causes supernumerary teeth?

Researchers aren't sure what exactly causes this condition. Sometimes a child will present with extra teeth and be perfectly healthy otherwise. However, supernumerary teeth are often seen in children with genetic disorders, such as those with:

  • Ellis-van Creveld syndrome: a condition which causes congenital heart defects, short-limb dwarfism, extra toes or fingers, and cloudy vision
  • Fabry disease: a condition where certain lipids build up in the body and cause pain in the hands and feet; this disease also causes heart and kidney issues, as well as rashes
  • Cleft Lip and/or Palate: a condition where tissues on the roof of the mouth or lips are split
  • Gardener's syndrome: a condition that causes gastrointestinal polyps and benign tumors on the skin
  • Cleidocranial dysostosis: a condition that can cause delayed bone development, dental abnormalities, and missing or underdeveloped collarbones

Whether or not your child has one of these disorders, it's important to remove these extra wisdom teeth just like you would regular ones. Most people do not have jaws that are large enough to support extra teeth. Supernumerary teeth can crowd other teeth, thus causing crooked bites and pain. To remove them, your dentist may need to perform a simple extraction or a surgical extraction.

Simple Extractions vs. Surgical Extractions

A simple extraction can be performed at most family and general dentistry offices. If the supernumerary teeth do have a little room to erupt, then your dentist can just use a local anesthetic to remove them. If your child is anxious, then a mild sedative could be used.

If the teeth are impacted in the gums or have not erupted enough, then your child will need a surgical extraction. Some dentists with specializations can do this procedure, while others may refer you to an oral surgeon. Besides removing the extra teeth, sometimes excess bone tissue is removed as well. Once the extra teeth are extracted, the surgeon will suture any gum flaps. Surgical extractions can sometimes be done with a local anesthetic, but if the procedure is more invasive, then general anesthesia is used.

Contact a dentist in your area to learn more about your child's supernumerary teeth. For more information, visit a site like