Gum disease, trauma and tooth decay are some of the most common causes of missing teeth, but did you know that some people are genetically predisposed to have fewer than 32 permanent teeth? Congenitally missing teeth, known as hypodontia, is an anomaly in which one or more adult teeth fail to develop.
Hypodontia tends to run in families, but has been linked to factors like exposure to radiation, chemotherapy, or following a childhood illness with rubella or candida. Children born with Down’s syndrome, ectodermal dysplasia or a cleft palate may also be at risk for congenitally missing teeth.
Prevalence of hypodontia
Hypodontia is a common condition seen throughout the world. In fact, it is estimated that hypodontia affects up to 8 percent of the population and 20 percent of adults fail to develop at least one tooth during their life. Congenitally missing teeth are more prevalent females versus males, and is most frequently seen in mandibular second premolars, maxillary lateral incisors, lower central incisors and wisdom teeth. According to published epidemiological research, one or both of the lateral incisors are congenitally missing in roughly 2 percent of the population.
Besides obvious aesthetic concerns, patients with congenitally missing teeth may be at risk for other complications including periodontal damage, malocclusion, problems with pronunciation and chewing, and inadequate alveolar bone growth.
If you have hypodontia and want to improve your smile and self-esteem, there are several dental treatments available that can restore appearance and functionality.
Treatments for congenitally missing teeth
By replacing missing teeth, patients can not only achieve a more attractive smile, they can avoid oral health complications down the road. Treatments for hypodontia are aimed at maintaining jaw support and restoring the stability of remaining teeth, which can shift over the years. A cosmetic dentist can determine the best solution for your particular case, whether you are missing your mandibular second premolars, lateral incisors or any other teeth. Treatment decisions are based on several factors such as tooth location, how many teeth are missing, age and current periodontal health.
Treatment options may include:
- Invisalign or orthodontics — People with only one or two congenitally missing teeth may benefit from orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, which gently moves the remaining teeth to fill in the gaps caused by hypodontia.
- Bridge – Another cost-effective option is having a bridge, which fills in the empty space from the missing tooth. A dentist creates a bridge by affixing crowns on the two healthy teeth on each side of the missing tooth. Bridges may be fixed or removable can last up to 15 years.
- Permanent tooth implant – Dental implants are the treatment of choice in many hypodontia patients, since the restoration replaces the tooth structure and root, and is designed to look and function like your own, natural teeth. Dental implants can last upwards of 25 years and are a great option for enhancing function and appearance.
- Partial Denture – Properly sized and fitted dentures are another affordable means to correct congenitally missing teeth, and may be recommended if you’re not a candidate for implants or other restorations.
Affordable dentistry in Long Island
For more information about solutions for congenitally missing teeth, we invite you to call Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry at 631-246-4992 for a free consultation. Dr. Elliott and Dr. Nick are specialists in implantology and can outline your smile makeover solutions.
Additional “Congenitally Missing Teeth” Resources:
- American College of Prosthodentics, Missing Teeth https://www.gotoapro.org/missing-teeth/
- Dental Research Journal, Congenitally missing teeth (hypodontia): A review of the literature concerning the etiology, prevalence, risk factors, patterns and treatment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336964/
- Taylor Francis Online, Prevalence of hypodontia and associated factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1465313314Y.0000000116?journalCode=yjor20