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WHILE MOST PEOPLE HAVE thirty-two permanent teeth that develop (including the wisdom teeth), some people’s permanent teeth never grow in at all. These are called congenitally missing teeth—teeth missing from birth—and it’s actually more common than you think!

The teeth most common to be congenitally missing are 3rd molars (wisdom teeth), upper lateral incisors, and lower second premolars.  Not a problem when you’re missing those pesky wisdom teeth, but a big problem when you’re missing one of your front teeth.  So, what do you do if you find out your child has one or more congenitally missing teeth?

Why Would a Tooth Be Congenitally Missing?

A lot of factors are at play when it comes to the complex process of tooth formation. Congenitally missing teeth can run in families, meaning that often it is simply an inherited trait. Certain systemic conditions can also result in missing teeth. Whatever the reason for congenitally missing teeth, the good news is that there are effective ways to treat it.

What Kinds of Treatments Are There for Missing Teeth?

Depending on your unique situation and personal preference, your Portland dentist will recommend one or a combination of these treatments:

  • Orthodontic treatment: Often times gaps left by missing teeth will cause the surrounding teeth to rotate and shift into the empty space, resulting in bad bite and other issues. Orthodontic treatment is often recommended to keep the gap open until treatment to replace the missing tooth is undertaken.

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Further down the road as your child gets older, we will discuss options to fill in the space (and be completed by a general dentist)….

  • Dental implants: This is most often the treatment of choice. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. Combined with a crown specifically made to match your teeth, they are the most natural, functional and long-lasting treatment option.
  • Dental bridge: Bridges, often considered the next best option, literally “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Crowns, placed on the two teeth adjacent to the gap, are connected to a false tooth that fills the space left by the missing tooth.

At the office of Dr. Eddie Lopez, Portland pediatric dentist, we want to help you identify any of these issues ASAP. We’ll solve the puzzle and prepare for how we’re going to fix this common problem.  See you soon!  

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