You are well aware that an average human mouth has 32 permanent teeth, counting your wisdom teeth as well. But there are exceptions here too. Some individuals are born with fewer teeth. Disturbances during the early stages of tooth formation may result in the congenital absence of one or more teeth. Popularly known as hypodontia, missing teeth are a developmental abnormality wherein some of the permanent teeth fail to grow.
What is hypodontia?
Hypodontia or CMT (Congenitally Missing Teeth) is present in a list of some of the most commonly occurring developmental oral health conditions. People suffering from CMT have only six or fewer permanent teeth. The most common congenitally missing teeth are wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and the second premolars.
Causes of hypodontia
The condition is associated with genetic or environmental factors during dental growth. Missing teeth are the results of increased maternal age, low birth weight, multiple births, early exposure to certain infections, trauma, or drugs.
Hypodontia usually is the result of genetic disorders such as ectodermal dysplasia or Down syndrome. Yet, people with cleft lip and palate also have a risk of missing teeth.
What are the problems associated with hypodontia or missing teeth?
CMT generally affects the healthy growth of permanent teeth. Missing teeth can affect your ability to chew, pose problems with speech, gum damage, and cause insufficient bone growth. They also pose functional concerns when the other teeth in your mouth move into the empty spaces and shift the positions of the teeth.
Treatment options for hypodontia:
- Braces – In this treatment, metal brackets get fixed onto your teeth with connecting wires to move your teeth to the correct position. Invisalign and other invisible braces can also be chosen for a more transparent and convenient treatment option to move the teeth.
- Dentures – These are removable plates with attached artificial teeth. Children can start wearing dentures for assistance in speech development. Periodic replacement of children’s dentures is necessary to match the changes in their jaws during growth. Dentures can be relied upon until the child is old enough to get permanent teeth implants.
- Bridges – It is an expensive permanent method. A bridge is an artificial tooth fixed between two permanent teeth to assist in filling the gap. Bridges are porcelain-based dental products blended with metal or ceramics. Bridges help in correcting your bite problems by reinstating the lot of missing teeth, in turn, blocking the drifting of other teeth out of position.
- Implants – The process of inserting an implant consists of safely placing a metal root inside your jawbone. A crown that looks like your teeth is attached to the exposed part of the implant. If the missing teeth are far apart, the process is to place an implant between each of the missing teeth.
- Bonding and veneers – Patients of microdontia who have a small part of some of their teeth erupted can get the rest of the tooth built up with composite or a veneer. Remember, both these options are effective, only in situations where there is an existing tooth. These treatments are less invasive than bridges and implants but may not last long.
You don’t have to be overly concerned if you are missing a tooth or two, in addition to your wisdom teeth. That is because this situation is manageable. For this, it is essential to identify the symptoms of missing teeth early on and begin an appropriate treatment to prevent any long-term oral health issues. Start by scheduling regular dental appointments with our team at Putnam Orthodontics to acquire a beautiful smile that lasts long.