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Congenitally Missing Teeth

Most adults are fortunate to develop a full complement of teeth – 32 in total including wisdom teeth.  Though it’s normal and somewhat expected that wisdom teeth don’t erupt, when other adult teeth fail to come in this can pose greater concerns. A young adult’s bite can be compromised due to a lack of teeth, so missing adult teeth is a problem your dentist should take very seriously. But why would teeth fail to erupt in an otherwise healthy mouth?  Sometimes, teeth are prevented from erupting due to a lack of space or because of abnormal positioning. These situations can be remedied quite efficiently with the use of orthodontic treatments. Braces will help to create space and move teeth that may be trapped in bone into their correct position.  However, when teeth simply don’t develop, solutions for creating a healthy bite can be more challenging.

When Teeth Fail To Develop

There are several factors that prevent a tooth, or teeth, from developing.  Exposure to viruses, environmental toxins, radiation, and some chemotherapy drugs can all influence the healthy development of teeth. However, genetic factors are frequently at fault — a condition known as congenitally missing teeth. Upper lateral incisors and lower premolars are the most common congenitally missing teeth, and they’re are often missing across generations in a family; dentists hear stories of how Grandma or Grandpa, Mom or Dad, and now their children are missing one or more teeth.  Congenitally missing teeth may also be called hypodontia – a condition where five or more teeth are missing.  

Creating a Healthy Bite When Teeth Are Missing

Missing lower premolars is one thing, but it’s an entirely different situation to be missing front teeth.  Not only do these missing teeth pose a concern to the functionality of a person’s bite, but a missing front tooth can also create aesthetic issues that require early treatment to ensure your teen’s self-esteem isn’t damaged. If your family has a history of missing teeth,  it’s important that you and your dentist monitor the eruption and position of your child’s teeth to establish the best course of treatment to address any problems. In some cases, baby teeth may simply remain in place and act as the adult tooth. When these baby teeth are adequately maintained, they can remain in the mouth for years — sometimes for life.  Unfortunately, keeping baby teeth doesn’t work in every case and there is sometimes a need to move teeth orthodontically to create space for dental implants. Your dentist may suggest implants for a number of reasons. They help to create a uniform, beautiful smile, and they also provide a stable bite and preserve healthy bone levels.

Whether you have missing teeth because of environmental factors or because grandma and dad passed it on, you don’t need to miss out on having a great smile. Implants and bridges are both great options for improving your smile, but they both have their pros and cons. Before making your decision, discuss what makes the most sense for your mouth with your dentist and contact the dental experts at Apple Dental Group for more information.