Small teeth may not be as grand as other dental problems, but no matter how small, a dental issue must be treated. Let’s figure out how.
Small Teeth 101
Teeth can come in many different sizes. You could have smaller teeth, also known as microdontia, or teeth larger than average, known as macrodontia.
While having one or two smaller-than-average teeth is quite common, microdontia affecting all of our teeth is rare. So, if you suspect microdontia or any other dental issues, you can get those checked and treated at Signature Dental Care, our first and last stop for dental issues big and small.
Signature Dental Care is located in Hickory Hills, IL, and is a dental office famous for its brilliant dental veneers, which you can also get by simply scheduling an appointment. Now, though, before you go and arrange that appointment let’s quickly unravel the mysteries of small teeth and the treatment options available.
The Different Types of Small Teeth
There are different types of small teeth, and some types are not as common as others. Microdontia is categorized as follows:
This is the rarest kind of microdontia. It affects all teeth and is commonly seen in people with pituitary dwarfism.
With relative generalized microdontia, the teeth themselves aren’t smaller than on average. Instead, they simply look smaller in comparison to the jaw, which would be much larger than usual.
This is the most common type of microdontia, and it typically affects a single tooth or two. This type of microdontia has a few subtypes, as listed below:
- Microdontia of the tooth’s root
- Microdontia of the whole tooth
- Microdontia of the crown
Usually, this type of microdontia will affect the teeth located in the upper jaw, especially the maxillary lateral incisors (i.e., the teeth next to your top two front teeth).
The shape of the tooth may be normal, or it could look like a peg, but it will be significantly smaller than your other teeth. In some cases, there will be a smaller lateral incisor present on one side, but its pair on the other side will be missing.
Sometimes, instead of a missing tooth, you may be left with a baby lateral incisor. Localized microdontia may also affect one of your wisdom teeth, making it smaller than other teeth of that kind.
What Causes Microdontia?
While most people will be affected by localized microdontia, those with the generalized type will usually have an accompanying genetic syndrome. It is often a result of both genetic dispositions and environmental factors. Some conditions commonly accompanying microdontia include:
This type of dwarfism is typically the cause of generalized microdontia, the rarest type of this condition. It results in all teeth looking smaller than average.
Chemotherapy or Radiation
The development of teeth can be affected by chemotherapy and radiation treatments during infancy or early childhood resulting in microdontia.
Cleft Lip and Palate
When a baby’s lip or mouth doesn’t form properly during pregnancy, it can result in a cleft lip or palate, or sometimes both. Microdontia can form on the cleft side, as well as other dental abnormalities.
Congenital Deafness with Labyrinthine Aplasia, Microtia, and Microdontia (LAMM) Syndrome
This condition is known to affect the development of teeth and ears. People born with congenital deafness with LAMM syndrome typically have smaller ears and small, widely-spaced teeth.
Throughout the years, researchers have found that many teeth abnormalities are common in people with Down syndrome, especially peg-shaped teeth.
Affecting the formation of skin, nails, and hair, ectodermal dysplasias commonly affect teeth as well, resulting in small conical-shaped teeth. Missing teeth are also common with these conditions.
Bone marrow that doesn’t produce enough blood cells is a common sight in people with Fanconi anemia. Physical abnormalities are also present, such as ear and eye abnormalities, short stature, misshapen thumbs, and malformations on the genitalia.
This is a very rare condition in which bones in the skull close prematurely, which may cause plenty of abnormalities on the face, including hypodontia, otherwise known as missing teeth.
Affecting the development of facial features, Williams syndrome is a very rare condition that can result in some teeth deformities as well.
A chromosomal disorder affecting females known as Ullrich-Turner syndrome, which is commonly characterized by short stature, a webbed neck, heart defects, and early ovarian failure, may also result in shortening the width of the tooth.
This is a rare condition that often causes craniofacial malformations, such as eye abnormalities and underdeveloped or missing teeth.
Also known as oculomandibulofacial syndrome, the Hallermann-Streiff syndrome is often characterized by a short and broad head with an underdeveloped lower jaw.
This syndrome manifests as redness on a baby’s skin. Typically it causes slow growth, thinning skin, and sparse hair and eyelashes. It can also cause some skeletal abnormalities, as well as abnormalities with the teeth and nails.
Malformations to the mouth and teeth can be caused by a subtype of the oral-facial-digital syndrome, specifically the third one, also known as Sugarman.
Let’s say you’ve identified a type of microdontia in yourself. What’s your next move? Well, if it’s a case of localized microdontia, then those usually don’t require treatment. On the other hand, if you’re experiencing pain in your jaw or teeth, or there is noticeable damage on your teeth, you will definitely want to talk to your dental professional about this.
What Are My Options?
If you are concerned by the look of your teeth, do not worry — we got you covered. Here are some common treatments that will make your little problem disappear.
Dental veneers are thin coverings placed on top of your teeth. They are typically made of porcelain and give your teeth an even look.
Crowns are thicker than veneers and cover both the back and the front of your teeth. Sometimes your dentist will need to shave off your tooth to make a crown fit, but sometimes that is not necessary.
By roughening the teeth and then applying composite-resin paste onto them, you will effectively protect the rest of your teeth and prevent future cases of tear and wear caused by unevenness. The paste is sealed by a special light.