On average, we will have and lose 20 baby teeth in the early stages of our lifetimes. These will normally be replaced by 32 permanent teeth. That’s on average, anyway. There are those who won’t have 32 permanent teeth. Are you one of these people? A developmental abnormality called hypodontia is one explanation for this circumstance.
Those with hypodontia will be missing 6 or fewer teeth, those with oligodontia are missing more than 6 teeth, and those with anodontia are missing all of their permanent teeth. These conditions happen because the teeth fail to develop properly.
Hypodontia isn’t something to be upset about. Hypodontia one of the most common developmental conditions with regards to oral health, as it’s estimated that 20% of adults are born with at least one tooth missing. This condition occurs more often in the case of identical twins. Also, women tend to be affected more often than men.
Hypodontia tends to be a hereditary problem, though environmental factors also play a role. Some of these factors include advanced maternal age, having low birth weight, incidences of rubella, and maternal smoking.
Thankfully, treatments are available for hypodontia. These include dental prosthetics, braces and orthodontic appliances, and implants. In cases where there is only a small gap between teeth, the gap may be closed through dental bonding.
Treatment for hypodontia in children differs from treatment for adults. Because children have less-developed jaws, implants aren’t recommended. If there is no permanent tooth to replace it, a baby tooth can stay for a lifetime. If this isn’t possible, braces could be used to pull the other permanent teeth toward each other, in order to close the gap caused by the tooth that is missing.
If you are a parent and have hypodontia, inform your child’s dentist about your condition. Since hypodontia is hereditary, any children of yours are at higher risk of developing this developmental abnormality.
Have you had a dental exam recently? If not, give us a call to get your next appointment scheduled with Dr. Sulken or Dr. Kinn!