What is Hypodontia?


Hypodontia is a surprisingly common disorder of the teeth. Hypodontia involves the absence of one or more primary or permanent teeth. This problem is present from birth, thus it is also called CMT (Congenitally Missing Teeth). The number of teeth missing determines the severity of the diagnosis and the effect of the disorder. No matter how many teeth are absent, CMT creates a significant dental disadvantage that can be dealt with by receiving help from the Sacramento Dentistry Group.

X-Rays Reveal the Truth

The absence of primary teeth is readily noticed in early childhood. All of the permanent teeth, however, may not be fully formed until after the age of twelve. Therefore, hypodontia involving the permanent teeth can hide until this point. After the age of twelve, x-rays reveal if any permanent teeth are missing in the jaw, including the last teeth to form, the third molars (“wisdom teeth”). Other teeth may be recognized as missing at an earlier stage, but it is recommended to have a final diagnosis of hypodontia only in the teen years.

Not Impacted Teeth

In some cases, the primary tooth does not fall out, even when a perfectly formed permanent tooth is waiting to erupt behind it. This is called an impacted tooth and is not an example of hypodontia. By extracting the primary tooth, which is not made to last a lifetime, the stronger permanent tooth can be revealed and pulled down (or up) with orthodontic treatment.

Consequences of Hypodontia

Hypodontia leads to malocclusion, the absence of teeth, an altered facial appearance and a higher likelihood of severe gum disease. Treatment is varied based on the number of the teeth missing, whether the primary teeth stay in place or fall out normally, and whether or not the jawbone is malformed due to the absence of teeth. In a future article, the Sacramento Dentistry Group will discuss the likely causes of hypodontia and the typical treatments for this dental disorder.

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