Why Do I Only Have 24 Teeth and Is It Normal?

Set of 24 teeth | Source: Ottawa Family Dentist

As you reach adulthood, some of you may wonder, why do I only have 24 teeth?

Babies are born with 20 deciduous teeth, or children’s teeth. As we grow up, our teeth are replaced by 32 permanent teeth which are larger and stronger. This includes 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars, and 12 molars. However, due to age, genetics, dental problems, or injury, some people may be missing certain teeth.

People with one or more missing teeth (excluding their wisdom teeth) suffer from a congenital condition known as hypodontia. This can occur in any part of the mouth, but is most commonly seen in the front teeth. Hypodontia can be caused by several reasons including genetic factors, dental developmental abnormalities, as well as trauma and infection during young age.

Additionally, some people may be missing their wisdom teeth. Also known as the third molars, wisdom teeth are the four molars that usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25. The teeth are thought to be an evolutionary adaptation to help early humans tear through tough plants and raw meat. Today, an estimated 35 percent of the population are born without a wisdom teeth and scientists believed that the high percentage is once again an evolutionary adaptation to the modern day soft human diet.

Tooth diagram | Source: Techplanet

Yet, for the remaining 75 percent who do grow their wisdom teeth, the teeth are often removed as they do not have enough room to grow in the mouth. When the wisdom teeth fail to erupt fully and are stuck under the gum, they become impacted. An impacted wisdom teeth can cause a wide range of symptoms including pain, discomfort, infection and damage to surrounding teeth. To prevent such complications., most orthodontist would encourage patients to remove the wisdom teeth.

Last but not least, individuals suffering from teeth crowding may be advised to remove additional teeth (on top of their wisdom teeth) to make space for the growth of the remaining teeth. This is commonly seen in individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment such as the wearing of braces.

Is It Normal to Have 24 Teeth?

It is perfectly normal to have a ‘less than usual’ number of teeth. Before the age of 16, most people would have 28 teeth as the 4 wisdom teeth have yet to erupt. When your wisdom teeth erupt, your local dentist may deem it to be necessary to remove the teeth to ensure the remaining teeth are able to grow healthily.

Furthermore, people may undergo additional teeth extraction depending on whether the orthodontic treatment as well as the health of the remaining teeth. As such, it is not uncommon to have 24 or less teeth, and there is no worry if you are one of them. That said, if you have 24 teeth in your mouth prior to any tooth extraction, please consult your local dentist as there may be hidden teeth that are blocked or will erupt.

You may be interested in: Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Hurt at All?

On the other end, some people may have an extra teeth, also known as a supernumerary teeth. This is a condition known as hyperdontia. This can occur in any part of the dental arch, but is most commonly seen in the front of the mouth or in the molars. Hyperdontia can cause problems with the alignment of the teeth and may require treatment to remove the extra teeth and restore proper alignment. In contrast, people with less teeth do not suffer from such dental issue and need not undergo any treatment.

Will Having Only 24 Teeth Affect My Diet?

It is possible that having 24 teeth may affect your diet if you are missing certain teeth that are necessary for chewing certain types of food. This may limit your ability to eat some foods and may require you to alter your diet to accommodate the missing teeth, all while ensuring that you are getting the essential nutrition for a healthy life.

However, in general, having 24 teeth should not significantly impact your daily life or overall health. Nonetheless, it is still important to maintain good oral hygiene and visit a dental professional regularly to ensure that any potential dental issues are addressed.