Peg teeth, sometimes referred to as “Dracula teeth”, are a type of dental disorder called microdontia. Simply put, microdontia is a condition in which one or more teeth appear smaller than normal. The most common teeth affected are the upper lateral incisors and third molars. In most cases, peg laterals occur on both sides and they have shorter roots than normal.
This dental condition is not as common, hence not many people have heard of it. Dentists use it to describe cone-shaped, pointy teeth and teeth that are considered to be smaller than the average. In an everyday conversation, people call them simply ‘small teeth’ and ‘small tooth’, due to their size in comparison with other teeth. In most cases, this condition doesn’t affect dental health at all, but it does create an aesthetic problem for people who suffer from it - an unattractive smile.
If you happen to have a tooth that is spoiling your smile, read on and learn if you have a peg tooth and how it can be fixed.
Peg teeth are abnormal teeth that develop instead of healthy upper teeth on the front. Small teeth in adults can develop on either side of the jaw and the condition typically affects the single lateral incisors. There are rare cases in which mandibular, lower arch teeth are affected. Although lateral baby teeth, when not extracted on time, resemble peg teeth, they are not to be confused. Peg, Dracula teeth are sharp, often have visible gaps around them, and smaller than the lateral tooth on the other side of the jaw.
When a person reaches adolescence, it is clear that having a lingering baby tooth is unlikely. To confirm whether this is a baby tooth or a peg tooth, call your dentist and schedule an appointment. If you are living in Brisbane or Gold Coast vicinity, visit us at MGA Dental. We will be happy to diagnose your issue and if you wish, correct it with the help of state-of-the-art technology.
Peg lateral incisor are believed to be congenital, although they may remain unnoticed until the adulthood. The fact that you have a peg tooth does not have to mean your current oral and general health are affected. However, the presence of peg teeth can point to an underlying congenital defect or current condition that should be dealt with. A variety of conditions, most of them hereditary, can cause peg teeth. And the most infamous cause of the peg tooth is congenital syphilis. The unusual, abnormal tooth shape is formed if the mother did not start penicillin treatment before the teeth began to develop.
Other hereditary conditions can cause peg teeth, too. Ectodermal dysplasia is one of them. This condition causes abnormalities of skin and hair, not just the peg teeth. An extremely rare condition, incontinentia pigmenti achromians, is a birth defect that results in hypo-pigmented skin, abnormal teeth and sometimes, neurological issues.
Despite the aesthetics and unusual appearance, the peg teeth themselves are nothing to panic about. Due to their size, they can never be fully functional, and they do not cause alignment or bite issues. Although there are gaps around them, the position of nearby teeth won’t shift. Rarely, a condition of a tooth inside the tooth can appear. Yet, this dental malformation is not directly linked to peg teeth.
If the dentist suspects a tooth inside the tooth, he will recommend an X-ray to evaluate the level of structural damage caused by the condition. There are several treatment options, which depend on the level of damage. The worst case scenario is tooth extraction. Patients are also prescribed pain medication if the gums get inflamed due to the condition.
It is not a medical necessity to correct peg teeth, but many people do not feel good about them, being quite self-conscious when smiling. If that is the case with you, you should consider having them corrected. The procedures are not complicated or expensive, and they will improve your self-confidence in a significant way. The most common solutions for peg lateral teeth include resins (dental bonding), veneers, crowns, and implants.
Your dentist will recommend the best one for your particular case. Dental bonding is quicker, cheaper and completely painless. The composite that matches the colour of your teeth is applied to the peg tooth and shaped to look like your other, normal lateral. Veneers are thin coverings of the tooth’s front surface, and they are a more permanent solution. The tooth is first shaped with a drill, and temporary and permanent veneers are placed on the tooth.
Only a dentist can make an accurate diagnosis of peg teeth. As we said above, peg teeth can be mistaken for baby teeth. This is why it can be tricky to diagnose peg teeth in children. However, an expert will be able to distinguish between a baby and a peg tooth. If your child has an unusually-shaped, pointy “Dracula” tooth, consult a dentist.
If it turns out that a child's tooth is peg-shaped, explore the treatment options with your dentist. The dentist will most likely recommend a temporary solution first, cosmetic bondings. The dentist could also recommend braces, to reduce the gaps around the peg tooth. Do not forget that a peg tooth can develop the same problems as “normal” teeth do, so watch for cavities and abscesses.