The Third Wheel: Is Your Child Developing A Third Set Of Teeth?

22 March 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Chances are you're well aware that, under ordinary circumstances, people have two sets of teeth: the baby teeth, and the adult teeth. However, it might surprise you to learn that it's possible to have a third set of teeth move in. If you've noticed a third tooth in your child's mouth or they are currently experiencing discomfort and sudden misalignment of one or multiple teeth, a third tooth could be to blame. Read on to learn more about this phenomenon and what you can do about it.

All About The Third Set

Developing a third set of teeth isn't normal, nor is it common; however, it still happens from time to time. This disorder is referred to as hyperdontia, which simply means that the mouth has developed more teeth than it should have.

Hyperdontia can occur at any age, as some children will experience more than one set of baby teeth, while adults can experience more than one set of adult teeth. Hyperdontia can be more of a problem for children, as a second set of baby teeth can potentially get in the way of the development of adult teeth that are trying to come in. However, this disorder can cause problems for people of any age.

Why Some People Get Three Sets of Teeth

Doctors and scientists aren't entirely sure what the exact genetic trigger is for developing three sets of teeth, but they do believe that it's hereditary. As a result, the only way you could be alerted to the possibility of developing a third set of teeth is if you know of a blood relative who also developed three sets. However, your child could also be the first person in your family to develop this disorder, so having regular dental x-rays to detect abnormalities is a must.

The Problems Three Sets Cause

In addition to causing issues for children, three sets of teeth isn't as handy as it sounds for adults. In some instances, the third set of teeth won't come up, and cause no problems. However, more often than not, the third set will attempt to emerge in the exact same place where you have your second set of teeth. Since the second set is healthy and not falling out, it might be pushed out of place in order for the third tooth to move up. This can be painful and cause a misalignment of one's teeth.

Treating a Third Set of Teeth

Your child's dentist can determine if something needs to be done about a third set of teeth. If there are no signs that they're impacting their existing teeth, simply monitoring the situation will be sufficient. However, if the teeth are causing discomfort or misalignment of their existing teeth, they may need to be extracted.

To do this, your child's dentist will make a small incision in the gum and pull out the unwanted third tooth, just like if you had wisdom teeth removed before they emerged. If they have multiple teeth or a full third set of teeth trying to come in, this procedure may require multiple visits in order to allow them time to recover between extractions.

The development of teeth is something that rarely goes awry, but when it does, weird things like three sets of teeth can occur. If you think your child might have a third set of teeth moving in, visit their dentist right away to prevent damage to your existing teeth. Otherwise, keep visiting your dentist regularly and agree to dental x-rays to make sure that they're not developing any extras they don't want.

For more information, contact your child's dentist, or visit websites like