Losing a tooth to decay, trauma, or oral surgery is one thing—not having a permanent tooth grow in when a baby tooth falls out is another thing entirely. Up to 16.2 percent of people are missing one or more permanent teeth from birth, a condition called congenitally missing teeth or hypodontia. When at least six permanent teeth are missing, excluding the third molars, it’s known as oligodontia. And a complete absence of teeth is known as anodontia.
What Causes Congenitally Missing Teeth?
Genetics are almost always the culprit, so you may find that congenitally missing teeth run in the family. This condition can occur independently or in conjunction with a broader genetic disorder, such as Down syndrome or ectodermal dysplasia.
The Effects of Missing Teeth
The most common teeth affected by hypodontia are the third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth, followed by the upper lateral incisors and lower second premolars. Since most people have their wisdom teeth removed, being born without them may actually be beneficial. However, incisors and premolars are more necessary.
Aside from negatively impacting your appearance, congenitally missing teeth may cause:
- Misaligned bite
- Gum damage
- Poor jaw bone growth
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech problems
- Excess stress on existing teeth
Options for Filling the Gaps
Orthodontic care is usually the first step of treating hypodontia. This realigns any teeth that have drifted into the empty areas of the mouth. Then, there are a few options for replacing congenitally missing teeth:
- Removable partial dentures: The most basic solution is to create a retainer with an artificial tooth attached.
- Dental bridges: As the name suggests, dental bridges “bridge” the gap between two teeth. However, to permanently anchored a bridge, the surrounding teeth must be ground down and reshaped to hold a crown. Many people are deterred by the need to damage otherwise healthy teeth in order to fill the gap between them.
- Dental implants: Implants deliver the highest success rate and unrivaled patient satisfaction. They are self-supporting and don’t affect the integrity of surrounding teeth. The process is completed in three stages—implant placement, crown impression, and crown sealing. Once they’re in place, you can count on your implants to last for the long haul!
Treat Congenitally Missing Teeth in Brooklyn
If you’re ready to improve the appearance and function of your smile, reach out to Beyond Dentistry Laser Center. Our dentist, Dr. Simon Kappel, has 45 years of experience and uses cutting-edge dental technology. He can install a single-tooth implant or repair your entire smile with full-mouth dental implants. Dr. Kappel’s techniques are so rare and sought-after that patients drive and fly in from all over the country and around the world to work with him.
Don’t go another day hiding your smile because of congenitally missing teeth! Contact Beyond Dentistry Laser Center in Brooklyn at 718-436-0202 to ask questions or request a consultation with Dr. Kappel.