Usually, human beings will grow and lose 20 primary teeth early in our youth. As they fall out, we will usually grow 32 permanent teeth. That’s what’s typical, anyway. Were you aware that not everyone has 32 (or 28, if wisdom teeth are removed) permanent teeth? You may be one of these people. A developmental abnormality called hypodontia is commonly responsible.
People with hypodontia will be lacking six or fewer teeth (missing more than 6 teeth is called oligodontia, and lacking all permanent teeth is known as anodontia). This happens because the permanent teeth fail to develop.
Don’t feel ashamed if you have hypodontia. It’s estimated that twenty percent of people are born with at least one tooth missing, making hypodontia one of the most typical developmental conditions having to do with your mouth. It might interest you to know that hypodontia happens more frequently in the case of identical twins. Hypodontia is also more common in women than it is in men.
Hypodontia tends to be hereditary, but it is also influenced by environmental factors. These factors can include maternal smoking, incidences of rubella, low birth weight, and advanced maternal age. There are treatments available for missing teeth. They include dental prosthetics, braces and orthodontic appliances, and implants. If there is only a small gap between teeth, the gap may be closed by bonding tooth-colored filling material to the teeth.
Hypodontia treatment is slightly different when it comes to children. Implants aren’t recommended, because children have less-developed jaws. The baby tooth of a child can remain in the mouth throughout adulthood if there’s no permanent tooth to replace it. If preserving the primary tooth can’t be done, braces could be used to reposition other permanent teeth closer to each other, in order to close the gap created by the missing tooth.
If you are a parent and have hypodontia, let your child’s dentist know. Since hypodontia is hereditary, your children are at greater risk of developing this developmental abnormality.
Are you overdue for an exam? If so, give us a call to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Clauson!