Congenitally missing teeth is a rare condition — only 2 to 4 percent of the population experiences it. It might seem like a straightforward condition at first, but replacing congenitally missing teeth quickly gets more complex than you might expect. You want a complete, healthy smile — what are your options?
Hypodontia: It’s in Your Genes
Being born without some of your teeth is called hypodontia. If you’re missing all your teeth, you’re in an even rarer class, with a condition known as anodontia. Chances are, your mother or father likely has gone through the same struggle, as these conditions are largely dictated by genetics.
The most common teeth to be affected by hypodontia are the wisdom teeth, the upper lateral incisors and the lower second premolars. If you were born with no wisdom teeth, count yourself lucky — no chipmunk cheeks for you. But missing any others can typically lead to problems. Your other teeth might shift into the empty space. You might have trouble chewing. It could lead to jaw-strength issues and bone resorption.
And of course, there’s the issue that affects you every day — you don’t have a full smile! You need a solution. The only question is — which one will deliver the results you want?
Build a Bridge
Your first option is to have a bridge fitted to the empty space. By anchoring a bridge to the teeth surrounding the gap, you get a relatively sturdy tooth replacement that’s cemented in place. It is one of the lower-cost options when treating congenitally missing teeth.
Another option is a partial denture. It’s a removable device designed to (hopefully) fit snugly against your gums, but often it might not. While it’s a good temporary solution, it’s not the best long-term fix for this reason.
Single Implant Solution
Implants are by far the best option for treating congenitally missing teeth. One of the unforeseen issues that often comes up is the fact that without an adult tooth growing from the jawbone, the bone is often weak or sunken, without enough depth and width to sustain an implant, never mind maintain facial structure. Through bone grafting and then implant placing, not only are you resolving the missing tooth issue, but you are also establishing a healthy, complete jawbone that won’t threaten the stability of surrounding teeth in the future. It’s a whole-smile solution that, while slightly more expensive than the others, is a great investment in your long-term oral health.
Fill in the Gaps!
If you choose to undergo an implant procedure, it is critical to wait until the maxillary bone has stopped growing. Have your jaw assessed by an oral surgeon in the planning phase of the process. If you’re beginning your journey toward resolving congenitally missing teeth, your team of oral surgeons at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is here to help — schedule your consultation today.