We will normally grow and lose twenty baby teeth early in our lives. As these teeth fall out, we will usually grow thirty-two permanent teeth. That's on average, anyway. There are those who won't end up with thirty-two permanent teeth. Perhaps you are one of these people. A developmental abnormality known as hypodontia
is one potential reason for this.
People with hypodontia will be missing six or fewer teeth (missing more than six teeth is called oligodontia, and lacking all of one's permanent teeth is called anodontia). These conditions happen because the permanent teeth fail to develop as they should.
Hypodontia is nothing to be ashamed of. When it comes to oral health
, it's estimated that 20% of people are born with at least one tooth missing, making hypodontia one of the most typical developmental conditions. The condition occurs more often in the case of identical twins. Also, it is more common in women.
Hypodontia is typically hereditary, though environmental factors also play a role. A few of these factors are maternal smoking, low birth weight, having had rubella, and advanced maternal age. Fortunately, there are treatments available, including orthodontic braces and appliances, dental prosthetics, and dental implants. In cases where there is only a small gap due to the missing teeth, the gap may be closed through dental bonding.
Hypodontia treatment differs for children
. Implants aren't recommended, given that children's jaws are less developed. Lacking a permanent tooth to replace it, the child's baby tooth can remain for a lifetime. If preserving the baby tooth can't be done, braces could be used to pull other permanent teeth toward each other, so as to close the gap created by the tooth that is missing.
If you happen to be a parent who is missing a permanent tooth, be sure to let your child's dentist know. Because this condition is genetic, your children have a greater risk of developing this abnormality.