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Time to Talk about – Anodontia

One of the more frightening dental conditions we see in children , frightening to parents that is, is the lack of teeth growing in their infants mouth; the congenital absence of permanent teeth. Understandably, when their child’s teeth do not come in on time, or at all, parents tend to become extremely distressed.

Partial or full Anodontia in infants

Besides infant tooth loss, which is of course quite common and "normal," it is also possible that, because of genetics and/or disease, a child’s baby teeth do not come in at all. This condition is known as Anodontia, or partial Anodontia, when only a few teeth come in naturally. Needless to say, this can cause parents much distress. A Prosthodontist, when seen early, can help plan the long term management of these patients.

What is Hypodontia?

While full Anodontia is extremely rare, partial Anodontia, or Hypodontia, is much more common. This is the failure of some of a child’s permanent teeth to grow in normally, most commonly six teeth or fewer. If a child is missing more than six teeth, the condition is known as Oligodontia; while a child with more than the usual number of teeth has a condition known as Hyperdontia.

The lack of teeth in children is largely due to genetics, and may be a result of other conditions; such as cleft palate, cleft lip, Down syndrome, or Ectodermal dysplasia, and is rarely life threatening – very rarely.

Treatment for Anodontia and/or Hypodontia

Now that we’ve learned the various definitions, the more important question for parents is, "What can be done to treat tooth loss in young children?"

Since Anodontia, Hypodontia, and Oligodontia involve the growth of your child’s permanent teeth, treatment protocols dictate tooth replacement therapy; either dental implants or dentures – yes dentures – for your child. These tooth replacement therapies can be implemented on children as young as two years old."

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