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Macrodontia Explained

Who is likely to have macrodontia?

Having a single large tooth -- or localized macrodontia -- is rare and those who have it may have no common characteristics with others who have it. There are simply unique cases where teeth have developed irregularly at some point during growth and hormonal development [sources: Cameron and Widmer; NIH]. Often, however, macrodontia is a characteristic of those who have certain physical conditions or abnormalities and hereditary or familial patterns. Some conditions connected with macrodontia include the following:

  • KBG syndrome -- This condition is rare and has macrodontia as one of its main characteristics, along with developmental delays or mental retardation, broad facial features and skeletal abnormalities. KBG and related macrodontia also can be linked genetically within families.
  • Hemifacial hyperplasia -- Another rare disorder causing enlargement of tissues and bones on one side of the face and head and sometimes presenting with macrodontia on the affected side.
  • Pituitary gigantism -- Also rare, gigantism leads to excessive growth of bones and involves hormonal imbalances that may be at root in isolated cases of macrodontia, as well [sources: Langland, et al.; Yang].

Some studies also identify ethnic or regional groups with a higher incidence of macrodontia, such as in some Chinese populations, although a consensus is harder to come by with small samples of individuals per country or geographic area. A number of organizations do assert that males tend to have macrodontia more than females though, no matter the cause. Macrodontia is linked genetically where other conditions are present, as mentioned with KBG syndrome or other developmental disabilities, but isolated cases of macrodontia in individuals with no other conditions are just that -- isolated. Overall, macrodontia is considered rare and case studies are not widespread.

For those who have macrodontia, is it common to have pain or to need treatment? Or is it mostly just a physical peculiarity that can be left alone?