We will typically have and lose 20 primary teeth early in our lives. As they fall out, we will grow, on average, 32 permanent teeth. That’s on average, anyway. Did you know that not everybody has 32 permanent teeth? Maybe you are one of them. Your situation may be a result of hypodontia, a developmental abnormality.

Usually, those with hypodontia will be lacking 6 or fewer teeth (missing more than 6 teeth is referred to as oligodontia, and lacking all permanent teeth is known as anodontia). These disorders happen because the permanent teeth fail to develop.

Don’t worry if you are someone with hypodontia. When it comes to oral health, it’s estimated that 20% of people are born with at least one tooth missing, making hypodontia one of the most common developmental conditions. The condition is more prevalent in the case of identical twins. Hypodontia is also more common in women than it is in men.

Hypodontia is usually inherited, though environmental factors can play a role. Some of these factors are advanced maternal age, having low birth weight, incidences of rubella, and maternal smoking. Fortunately, there are treatments available. These include orthodontic braces and appliances, implants, and dental prosthetics. Additionally, when the gap between the teeth is small, the gap may be closed by bonding tooth-colored fillings to the teeth.

Treatment for hypodontia differs for children. Implants aren’t recommended, because children’s jaws are less developed. The primary tooth of a child can stay in place for a lifetime in the absence of a permanent tooth below it to push it out of the way. If this isn’t an option, dentists may use braces to pull the other teeth closer to each other, so as to close the gap due to the missing tooth.

If you are a parent who is missing a permanent tooth, make sure to inform your child’s dentist about your condition. As hypodontia is genetic, any children of yours will have a greater chance of developing this abnormality.

Are you overdue for your next exam? If so, give us a call to get your appointment scheduled with Milford Dental Excellence!