Dens En Dente

by Alison

Since I have been working in dentistry for a quarter century I thought I had heard of every possible dental condition, but last week a patient had a condition that I had never heard of - dens en dente. Actually, Dr. Urban didn’t call it dens en dente, he said the patient had, “dens invaginatus”.  

“He has dens-what?” I asked, thinking that I had heard him wrong.

“Dens invaginatus” he repeated. So after having him spell it, and explain it to me, I googled it for more clarification.

Dr. Nicholas Calcaterra does a great job explaining this condition in his blog. “Dens in Dente, also called Dens en Dente or DensInvaginatus or translated literally as “Tooth Within a Tooth” is a dental condition that develops during teeth formation in which the outer surfaces of the tooth become folded inward, resulting in what appears on dental x-rays as a small tooth growing inside the middle of a large tooth.”

dens in dente diagramDr. Calcaterra also posted this nifty drawing of the condition, as well as some great photos. If you’d like to check them out you can follow the link above. Thanks Dr. Calcaterra!

The problem with this condition is that the fold leaves a tiny opening for bacteria to invade, which makes the tooth prone to decay. The opening is so small that the dental explorer is not likely to catch it. This is one of the many reasons a full mouth series of X-rays is necessary to properly diagnose dental problems.

So if you’d like to know if you have any odd dental conditions that might cause you problems give us a call. We can help you with that. 703-532-1712