Third Dentition Is the Main Cause of Premolar Supernumerary Tooth Formation

H. Kiso, K. Takahashi, S. Mishima, A. Murashima-Suginami, A. Kakeno, T. Yamazaki, K. Asai, Y. Tokita, R. Uozumi, M. Sugai, H. Harada, B. Huang, M. MacDougall, K. Bessho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


While the prevalence of supernumerary teeth (ST) is high in permanent dentition, the etiology of ST in humans remains unclear. However, multiple murine models of ST have elaborated on dated mechanisms traditionally ascribed to ST etiology: one involves the rescue of rudimental teeth, and the second considers the contribution of odontogenic epithelial stem cells. It remains unclear whether these mechanisms of ST formation in mice are applicable to humans. The third dentition is usually regressed apoptotic—that is, the teeth do not completely form in humans. Recently, it was suggested that ST result from the rescue of regression of the third dentition in humans. The present investigation evaluates the proportion of collected general ST cases that evinced a third dentition based on the clinical definition of ST derived from the third dentition. We also investigated the contribution of SOX2-positive odontogenic epithelial stem cells to ST formation in humans. We collected 215 general ST cases from 15,008 patients. We confirmed that the general characteristics of the collected ST cases were similar to the results from previous reports. Of the 215 cases, we narrowed our analysis to the 78 patients who had received a computed tomography scan. The frequency of ST considered to have been derived from the third dentition was 26 out of 78 cases. Evidence of a third dentition was especially apparent in the premolar region, was more common in men, and was more likely among patients with ≥3 ST. SOX2-positive odontogenic epithelial stem cells within the surrounding epithelial cells of developing ST were observed in non–third dentition cases and not in third dentition cases. In conclusion, the third dentition is the main cause of ST in humans. The odontogenic epithelial stem cells may contribute to ST formation in cases not caused by a third dentition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-974
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© International & American Associations for Dental Research 2019.


  • SOX2
  • computed tomography
  • craniofacial anomalies
  • humans
  • odontogenesis
  • odontogenic epithelial stem cells


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