What Are Congenitally Missing Teeth?

When a child is diagnosed with congenitally missing teeth, it means that some teeth fail to erupt– along with the rest– because they are missing. This is a condition present at birth. Although it might seem like this condition would be fairly rare, it’s not that uncommon. However, congenitally missing teeth can be problematic as your child grows, so it’s best to consult a dentist about restorative options.

Taking a closer look at congenitally missing teeth

Usually, people are born with 20 baby teeth, also called primary teeth. These remain below the gum line until they begin to erupt at about six months. Your child will enjoy the use of them until they are about six years old. Then, they’ll start falling out to make room for permanent teeth.

However, not all children will erupt with a full set. This condition most often affects the second premolars and the upper lateral incisors. The upper lateral incisors are situated on either side of the two front teeth on the upper jaw. The second premolars are found in front of the back molars– but behind the canine teeth. Most children with this condition will only have one or two teeth missing, which can be somewhat reassuring to parents.

Complications associated with congenitally missing teeth

Congenitally missing teeth can result in several complications. A gap between the teeth can adversely affect how your child will speak as well as eat. In addition, the adjacent teeth can shift out of position. When the jawbone doesn’t receive stimulation from chewing because a tooth is missing, it begins to lose density. Last but not least, a person can experience emotional distress associated with abnormalities in their appearance. This can be particularly difficult for a child or adolescent.

Treatment options for congenitally missing teeth

The first step in developing a treatment plan for congenitally missing teeth is establishing whether the teeth are missing. In some cases, they may be impacted beneath the gum line. If they are indeed missing, then the treatment options depend on the age. For young patients, the following treatment options may be considered:

  • Orthodontics: To close the gap with nearby teeth
  • Partial bridge: To anchor a replacement tooth in the gap
  • Dentures: A removable option

If the parents opt for a partial bridge or dentures, this treatment may be considered temporary until the child matures. Once the jaw is completely mature, the patient may be a good candidate for a more permanent solution. At this point, it’s time to visit a dental implants dentist on Long Island. A dental implant will be anchored directly within the jawbone, effectively mimicking both the natural tooth’s look and function. Another benefit of dental implants is the lack of any special care requirements.

Visit a restorative dentistry office on Long Island

You’ll find a full range of options available at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry. Our compassionate dentists treat patients of all ages. If you or your child has congenitally missing teeth, we’ll do a thorough exam before discussing your treatment. We pride ourselves on extensive patient education– we believe it’s important for you to make an informed decision. Contact us today in Suffolk County, Long Island. Please note we are currently open for all appointments. Our entire team is following strict COVID-19 protocols.

Additional resources on dental implants

  1. Colgate, Congenitally Missing Teeth: What Are They and How to Treat Them, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/congenitally-missing-teeth-what-are-they
  2. American College of Prosthodontists, Missing Teeth, https://www.gotoapro.org/missing-teeth/

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