Not everyone is fortunate enough to have all their teeth erupt on time and in place. About 20% of the population is actually missing adult teeth due to a lack of development — meaning their adult tooth-bud never even existed. “Congenitally missing teeth” is the jargon science term for when a genetic factor influences tooth cells to not develop, and it usually impacts several generations of a family; often with each member missing the same tooth or teeth. But what can be done to restore a mouth that is missing teeth? And how can a healthy, functional bite be created?
Dental Implants Replace Natural Teeth
Depending on your particular circumstance, there is likely more than one solution for replacing teeth any genetically missing. Premolars that are missing in the lower jaw may not even need to be replaced. Often, the baby molar just never falls out and naturally replaces the adult tooth. However, when teeth are missing from the front of the mouth, there is a greater need to replace the missing teeth. A gappy smile not only presents aesthetic concerns for some patients, but it also impacts speech development and bite function. Dental implants can provide a solution that not only permanently restores your bite, but that also enhances the beauty of your smile.
However, orthodontic treatment may be necessary. Other teeth may have crowded the gap, and they’ll need to be move to create enough space for dental implants to be placed. This tooth movement will also enhance the shape and size of your dental arch, making it easier to breathe, and create a more functional and aesthetic bite.
When Dental Implants Aren’t an Option
Because smiles are unique and dental health needs are focused on each individual patient, dental implants may not be the best solution in every case of congenitally missing teeth. Because the tooth or teeth were never present, bone levels may not be adequate at the specific site as bone recedes or fails to form when not needed to support a tooth. But all is not lost! Just because implants aren’t suitable, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with gaps forever. There is still another viable solution: a dental bridge. Designed to fill in the gap with a fake tooth, a bridge is created by first crowning the teeth adjacent to the gap. Your dentist then attaches a fake tooth to the crowns to create the bridge. Long lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to design and prep, a dental bridge is a great choice for restoring a smile and bite.
The human body is, unfortunately, not perfect. Mistakes happen and errors occur in our DNA. Sometimes these errors are catastrophic, but sometimes they’re simple to fix. Missing teeth are usually the latter. Not sure what your options are for replacing congenitally missing teeth? Contact the team at Apple Dental Group today.