Hypodontia is a condition which is usually inherited and leads to the lack of development of some of the patient’s teeth.
It usually involves missing up to 5 permanent teeth, not including third molars, which, in many patients with this condition, will eventually come through.
Where 6 or more teeth are missing, the condition is referred to as Oligodontia. It is not an especially unusual condition though, and restoration can be achieved with the use of prosthodontics.
Determining the problem
There may be a number of factors involved in the presence of this condition, including where chemotherapy has been carried out. Despite this, genetics is by far the most common cause, making it unavoidable for some patients.
To determine the stage of tooth development where this condition is suspected, an x-ray will be necessary so that we can determine what is happening beneath the gum line and therefore, what is the best course of treatment to take.
The incidence of hypodontia can be reduced in young children by encouraging a good oral health regimen. Keeping teeth and gums healthy is essential, and parents should always supervise any cleaning of the teeth so that they do it correctly. Early visits to The Lodge Dental Suite, from around one year old are also highly recommended. Eventually, treatment may be needed and the type of treatment may vary from patient to patient, depending on the diagnosis. Fixed partial dentures may be necessary, partially to prepare the teeth for future long term procedures when they become older. At a later age, long term solutions, such as dental implants can be used to help resolve the situation.
Implants in children
It is worth noting here that dental implants cannot be placed in children. Whilst this would otherwise help to avoid a two stage solution (dentures, then implants), it would create serious problems due to facial development. Implants placed into an immature jaw bone would move and could also become very painful – hence why the treatment cannot proceed until facial development is complete.
If your child has not yet visited the dentist and is a year or more old, now is the time to have their teeth checked, however healthy their teeth may seem to you. Early year visits are also more likely to help them overcome any anxiety about visiting the dentist in later life too.
For more information about Hypodontia or general oral health care of children, residents of Cheshunt and surrounding areas can contact The Lodge Dental Suite on 01992 643388.