Case Study: Supernumerary Teeth

This is a 4 year old quarter horse mare, that presented to Cave Creek Equine with a history of a lump on the right lower jaw for at least 2 years. The lump has grown with time and she has developed a draining tract in the center of the lump. There is a second lump developing on the left side of the lower jaw.

An oral exam revealed abnormally shaped teeth #407 and #408 (premolars 3 and 4 on the right lower jaw). Both teeth were below the level of the adjacent normal teeth and there was overgrowth of the opposing teeth.

Radiographs were taken of both sides of the lower jaw. These x-rays revealed two supernumerary (two extra) teeth fully imbeded in the bone of the jaw. The adjacent teeth were noted to be abnormally shaped and oriented at an abnormal angle.

The draining tract was explored and found to comminicate with the mouth adjacent to tooth #407. Attempted oral removal of teeth #407 and #408 was unsuccessful and surgical removal was performed.

The majority of the bony portion of the mass was removed and the two supernumerary teeth extracted from the jaw bone. Teeth #407 and #408 were then easily extracted once the locking effect of the supernumerary teeth was resolved. The large void was thoroughly cleaned and packed with dental packing material.

This patient recovered well from anesthesia and was checked 18 days post operatively. The packing was removed and the void created by the removal of the teeth was healing in well.

Supernumerary teeth or polydontia is uncommon in the horse. The cause of the extra teeth is not fully understood, but it is thought to be from the splitting of the tissue that is destined to become a tooth. This results in an extra tooth. These teeth are generally rudimentary and dysmorphic (abnormal in shape and size).

These extra teeth may cause no problems with the health of the horse or the dental function. However in some cases it can cause displacement of the permanent teeth, dental overcrowding, periodontal disease and sinusitis.

Removal of supernumerary teeth is indicated if they are causing problems. They can be removed either orally or thru the side of the face or jaw.


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