Enlarged teeth, also known as macrodontia, is a rare but treatable condition that may develop as your child’s adult teeth begin to grow in. Enlarged teeth are often caused by disorders of the pituitary gland (the gland that secretes male and female reproductive hormones), insulin-resistant diabetes, and other pre-existing conditions. In these cases, your pediatric dentist (and oral surgeon, if applicable) will work with your child’s pediatrician to develop a treatment plan.
Types of Enlarged Teeth
There are three types of macrodontia that a child may have, including:
1. Isolated: Refers to one single tooth that is larger than the others. While all forms of macrodontia are considered rare, this type is especially rare. If your child has this type of an enlarged tooth, a cosmetic dentist may be able to reduce the size of the tooth to help avoid crowding and to create a more aesthetically appealing smile.
2. Generalized: In cases where all of the teeth are enlarged, this is referred to as generalized macrodontia. Generalized macrodontia can be caused by a condition called pituitary gigantism—a condition that causes enlarged feet, hands, head, etc.
3. Relative generalized: If the jaw is underdeveloped, the teeth can appear too large for the mouth even if they are of normal size.
Having enlarged teeth is not just a cosmetic concern. Crowding is common with macrodontia and can make dental hygiene much more difficult which increases the risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, enlarged teeth may not erupt through the gums, requiring extraction.
In order to prevent tooth decay caused by crowding and a “toothy” smile, several steps can be taken including (but may not be limited to) the following:
1. Reshaping: A cosmetic dentist can properly reshape the teeth in order to improve the appearance of the smile. This option is permanent but can greatly improve your child’s self-esteem.
2. Extraction: This refers to the removal of one specific tooth, or several teeth. The enlarged teeth are then replaced with a fixed bridge or dental implants.
3. Orthodontic Care: Sometimes a palate expander can help to stretch the jaw to give the teeth more room. Braces may then be used to straighten crooked teeth and with the proper spacing, the teeth may appear smaller. If you think that your child may have macrodontia, make sure to schedule a pediatric dental appointment for a professional consultation. Advanced Children’s Dentistry provides comforting and educational pediatric dental care in Garden City, NY. Schedule an appointment at 516-758-KIDS (5437).