What IS a peg tooth? It’s a tooth that formed in an atypically narrow and rounded shape. When you look in the mirror, a peg tooth appears much thinner than the teeth around it. It may appear long and thin, but usually they’re small in all dimensions. The most common tooth to have this condition are the upper lateral incisors, which dentists refer to as “peg laterals” and many patients call “fangs”!
A normal set of teeth has 6 front teeth: 2 central incisors, 2 lateral incisors, and 2 cuspids AKA canines.
Interestingly, lateral incisors are the second most common teeth to be congenitally missing (behind wisdom teeth). Peg laterals are thought to be on a spectrum towards this.
What is there to be done about these teeth and how can your smile be improved?
In order to have an ideal bite with your front teeth, your 6 upper and 6 lower front teeth have to be in proportion to each other. Peg laterals throw off this proportion: if you have an ideal bite, you’ll be left with spaces around the peg lateral(s). The most ideal way to correct this situation is to restore the proper proportion of the upper to lower teeth and the proportion of the upper front teeth to each other. Depending on the severity and size of the peg tooth, your general dentist may recommend:
- Composite Bonding
- Veneer +/- Crown Lengthening
- Crown +/- Crown Lengthening
- Extraction and Replacement with an Implant
The ideal treatment path also is dependent on the gum level. For some people, only being able to make a tooth wider with a crown (and not higher up towards the gums), means a disproportion will be created without having a minor gum surgery. In this surgery, called “crown lengthening”, bone height is reduced to have the tooth appear longer. The dentist will have to check to see if the root is long enough to afford this.
Doctors Abdoney and Cronauer will inform you if you have a peg tooth and give you these recommendations to have your general dentist plan for the restoration of the tooth/teeth. These restorations are typically done towards the very end of orthodontic treatment and involve communication between visits to both doctors before removing braces.