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If your child has started to lose their baby teeth, you should begin to see the eruption of their permanent teeth. This is usually a joyous occasion. But, it’s possible that one or more of their permanent teeth won’t come in like they’re supposed to. Which can make for a stressful situation. There’s also the possibility that a permanent tooth could fall out because of an accident or injury. In any case, it’s important to know what to do if your child is missing one or more permanent teeth.
What Can Cause a Missing Permanent Tooth?
When children are missing one or more permanent teeth after the baby teeth have fallen out, it’s likely that the cause is hypodontia. Which is usually a congenital abnormality that occurs when six or less permanent teeth don’t erupt when they’re supposed to. There are also times when problems during tooth development can lead to hypodontia. It’s estimated that nearly 20 percent of individuals are born missing at least one of these teeth.
However, only a very small percentage of these people are missing upwards of 4-6 teeth, which means that treatment will be easier. The most common permanent teeth that are missing include wisdom teeth, lower central incisors, upper lateral incisors, and premolars. Some of the other factors that can cause these teeth to be missing include:
- Maternal smoking
- A low birth weight
- Advanced maternal age.
Treatment Options for Missing Permanent Teeth
Your children will lose all of their teeth by the age of 11-12. When a baby tooth falls out, it is quickly followed by the eruption of permanent teeth. If a baby tooth has recently fallen out but a permanent one has yet to fill its spot, there are several steps that you can take to make sure that your children have a full and healthy smile. First of all, it’s possible to preserve the baby tooth or replace the tooth altogether. Certain orthodontic procedures can be used to close the space. Which means that the placement of an artificial tooth is unnecessary. Keep in mind that all three of these solutions are not always available. To identify which treatments are possible for your children, it’s important that you sit down with a dentist to discuss your options.
If you opt for orthodontic solutions, the options available to you include creating more space if teeth have crowded into the missing tooth gap. Or closing the open space by pushing the other permanent teeth closer together. Your dentist will be able to help you determine which of these solutions is preferable. The most effective treatment for missing permanent teeth involves the placement of an implant. However, implants are only available for people who have finished their adolescent phase of development. Which typically means that your children will need to be older than 17 to receive this treatment.
A couple of additional solutions that you should look into involve removable bridges and permanent bridges. Both of which are able to fill in the gap caused by the missing tooth. Removable bridges are similar to orthodontic retainers and can be taken out whenever necessary for cleaning or brushing. On the other hand, traditional bridges are permanent and are glued directly to the surface of the two teeth surrounding the gap. No matter which of these treatments you choose, your children will be able to effectively close any gaps created by their missing teeth
Treatment Options for Missing Permanent Teeth
While the treatment solutions and side effects of missing permanent teeth are very similar between hypodontia and cases where the tooth has fallen out, there are some key differences that you should be aware of. The main differences with how these teeth are missing have to do with the long-lasting issues that are caused by these missing teeth. Children who suffer from hypodontia will experience an issue where the permanent teeth surrounding the gap will become crowded within the vacant spot as they erupt into their proper positions. By identifying this problem early on, you may be able to minimize the number of treatments and corrections that need to be made.
When permanent teeth have already erupted but are knocked out or fall out for some reason, the surrounding teeth will take much longer to crowd into the gap. There’s also a small chance that the missing tooth can be reattached if it’s held in its proper position for a few weeks. A small dental splint can be used used to keep the tooth in position until the ligaments that attach the bone to the tooth regrow. Once the tooth has become reattached, the splint will be safely removed without issue.
How to Lessen the Chances of Missing Permanent Teeth
While it’s impossible to prevent the side effects of hypodontia wherein one or more permanent teeth may not develop properly, you may be able to lessen the chances of missing permanent teeth by keeping decay at bay. If your children don’t maintain proper oral hygiene, bacteria will fester and build up until their teeth begin to decay. If this decay isn’t quickly tended to, there’s a chance that the decay could become so severe that the affected teeth fall out altogether.
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In order to mitigate these problems, make sure that your children visit a dentist on a regular basis. The dental cleanings that your children receive during these visits will help to ensure that any bacteria and plaque are eliminated. Signs of tooth decay can also be caught early, which lessens the chance that the tooth will fall out completely. Your children should also brush their teeth twice every day and floss once per day. Good oral hygiene will help your children avoid decay and the possibility that one or more of their permanent teeth eventually fall out.
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400 Kinderkamack Rd.
Oradell, NJ 07649
What Can I Do [If My Child Is Missing a Permanent Tooth?]
Dr Engel holds a speciality license in pediatric dentistry from New Jersey and New York. He also has attained sedation certification, which allows for in-office oral sedation options, and he’s on staff at Hackensack University Medical Center. As an attending pediatric dentist at HUMC, Dr Engel retains operating room privileges, allowing for an array of treatment modalities and anaesthesia options.