Why Does My Grandson Have an Extra Tooth?

An extra baby tooth occurs in about 1% of the population and is more common in boys.  It raises some questions..

Wanda's question

My grandson, rather than having 2 top front teeth, has 3.

No, they are not crowded.

He actually has an extra front tooth on top. I even counted teeth between his eye teeth and there are 5 rather than 4.

Should I be concerned?

Will this affect his adult teeth when they come in?

He is 5 years old and even with the extra tooth, his teeth are straight and beautiful. 

My reply

Hi Wanda,  I'm glad you asked because this is an important issue.

The extra tooth is called a mesiodens (mesio meaning middle and dens meaning tooth)  because it is between the two upper central incisors.  

Right in the middle.

A mesiodens is always between the upper front teeth but an extra baby tooth can occur anywhere in the mouth and is called a supernumerary tooth.

It's good that his teeth look nice because these extra teeth are not always pretty.  They can be really small and pointy like a fang.  

The concern with extra baby teeth is that they may delay his permanent teeth and prevent them from coming in when and where they are supposed to.

Baby teeth need permanent teeth. As permanent teeth grow, they cause the roots of baby teeth to resorb and that is why baby teeth get loose and eventually come out. 

This extra baby tooth doesn't have a permanent tooth to cause its root to resorb and become loose like his other baby teeth.

More importantly it may be in the way of his permanent teeth.

Have it checked by your dentist

An x-ray is the only way to see where the permanent teeth are. 

You dentist can tell you if and when it needs to be removed so the permanent teeth can erupt on time.

Many extra baby teeth never grow in and have to be surgically removed.   Since it is fully erupted, your grandson's will be much easier to remove if it is necessary.

There is a small chance that additional baby teeth may also need to be removed depending on where the permanent teeth are.

Thank you for writing and good luck,


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