Posted on: 30 August 2016
Children's teeth develop at different rates. However, if you notice that your child appears to be missing some of their baby teeth, or that their adult teeth are appearing very slowly, it is possible your child may have a condition called hypodontia.
What is hypodontia?
Hypodontia is a genetic condition which results in between 1 and 6 adult teeth failing to develop and grow in your child's mouth. Hypodontia is usually caused by the lack of dental lamina tissue beneath the gums which is vital for tooth growth. Although hypodontia is usually diagnosed when a child doesn't develop the correct number of adult teeth, it can also be the cause of missing baby teeth, which have failed to develop.
Symptoms of hypodontia
The symptoms of hypodontia include missing teeth, with the incisors, second molars and upper canines most likely to be affected, teeth which are unevenly spaced and the development of cone-shaped adult teeth.
The risk posed by hypodontia
Hypodontia could be a signal that your child is at risk of other genetic conditions. If your child has received a diagnosis of hypodontia, you should also book an appointment with your doctor for further checks.
The main risk associated with hypodontia is an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. For this reason, it is vital that children with hypodontia are taught how to properly maintain their oral hygiene by brushing and flossing their teeth on a regular basis.
Treatment options for hypodontia
The approach used by a dentist to treat your child's hypodontia will depend on the severity of their condition. In mild cases, orthodontic treatments can close any gaps between the teeth and allow the existing teeth to grow in the correct fashion. However, in more severe cases, your child may require dental implants or partial dentures in order to correct the layout of their teeth. Because a child's teeth are constantly growing and changing, it may not be possible for your dentist to commence treatment as soon as the condition is diagnosed. The dentist may wish to wait a while to see how the teeth move and develop before providing suitable treatment at the most beneficial time.
If you have any concerns about the development of your child's teeth or their oral health, you should book an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to carry out a full assessment of their oral health and offer advice and appropriate treatment.Share