The teeth are naturally organized in such a way as to provide support to one another; therefore, if a tooth is missing, this lost support causes additional force to be placed on the remaining teeth. Some people are actually born with missing teeth. While missing teeth are a problem, extra teeth are also a concern. Having too many teeth can be painful as well as make speaking and eating difficult.
Orthodontists Address Issues Related to Missing or Extra Teeth
In a mouth that has the normal number of teeth, the biting surfaces fit together so that their contact provides equal force to all the teeth: however, if a tooth is absent because it never formed, the individual's bite will always be off. Furthermore, a missing tooth allows food to be compressed into the open space, increasing the likelihood of damage to the gingival tissue (gum tissue) and promoting cavity development. Although somewhat rare, the development of extra teeth does happen. If left untreated, these extra teeth can cause severe overcrowding. Typically, extra teeth are removed as soon as it is feasible to do so.
What is Hypodontia?
Hypodontia is the developmental absence of at least one tooth (excluding the wisdom teeth/third molars). This condition can affect the primary (baby) and/or the permanent (adult) teeth; however, hypodontia usually affects the permanent teeth.
Problems that can result from missing teeth:
- Bone loss — as the teeth form, the bones grow in and around the roots. The roots of the teeth help to stimulate the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, the bone is no longer receiving stimulation, which leads to jawbone deterioration.
- Shifting teeth — the teeth can move for a number of reasons and a missing tooth can speed up that process. The gaps create areas where adjacent teeth can shift, and as these teeth shift, more gaps are created, providing spaces where other teeth will shift: It is essentially a domino effect. One missing tooth can affect an individual’s entire bite pattern.
- Difficulty eating — when a front tooth is absent, tearing food may be challenging. The molars are used to grind foods; therefore, if a molar is missing, the way an individual chews everything is affected. Failing to adequately chew food can lead to digestion issues, including problems like gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD).
- Speech problems — teeth play a significant role in speech. Absent teeth may make it difficult to pronounce certain words: In addition, whistling sounds, slurring, and spitting while speaking are common.
- A variety of painful conditions — when teeth are missing, an individual’s bite is uneven, which can cause a variety of issues, including muscle pain, frequent headaches, tooth sensitivity, an unnatural wearing away of certain teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD, TMJ, TMD).
At Docbraces, we can replace absent teeth using partials, dental implants, and bridges, or by using a combination of orthodontic treatments and dentistry. The first thing we will do is take dental X-rays to verify that the permanent tooth is missing.
We can address a missing tooth/teeth with:
- A partial/flipper/removable bridge — this removable prosthesis is worn to replace the missing tooth/teeth. It resembles a retainer.
- A traditional bridge — these bridges close the gaps between the teeth; they are attached to the surfaces of the teeth on either side of the gap.
- A composite bridge — this type of bridge is a combination of a partial and a fixed bridge. The replacement tooth is created using bonding material that can easily be removed in the future to be replaced with a dental implant.
What is Hyperdontia?
Hyperdontia is a condition in which an individual has too many teeth. Hyperdontia frequently occurs with certain diseases and anomalies, including:
A cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Gardner’s syndrome. Cleidocranial dysplasia. Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Down syndrome.
Up to 2 percent of otherwise healthy children may have hyperdontia. Studies indicate that this condition can be inherited; however, researchers have yet to agree upon the actual cause of hyperdontia. Some theories include the stimulation or disruption of cells in the jawline and the abnormal division of tooth buds.
What Part of the Mouth is Affected by Hyperdontia?
This condition may affect one side of the mouth, both sides of the mouth, or just the front teeth. The supernumerary teeth can make it difficult for the permanent teeth to erupt properly.
Problems Hyperdontia Can Cause
These extra teeth can fuse with the permanent teeth or keep them from erupting properly. In addition, children who have extra teeth find it difficult to care for them, which leads to cavities, infections, and abscesses.
Other issues associated with extra teeth include:
Odd-looking facial characteristics. Displacement of the adult teeth. Speech problems. Movement of the permanent teeth. Nutrition problems. An increase in the formation of tumours and cysts. Resorption of the roots of the teeth next to the supernumerary teeth.
Addressing Extra Teeth
If your child is not having any problems, the tooth/teeth may be left in place, or they can be removed for aesthetic reasons; however, there are times when the supernumerary tooth/teeth need to be removed right away. For example, if the roots of the teeth that are near the extra tooth/teeth are being resorbed, saving those teeth requires immediate removal.
The Docbraces Difference — High-Quality, Affordable Orthodontic Care
At Docbraces, we offer orthodontic care for the entire family. Our goal is to provide each patient with the high-quality, affordable orthodontic care they deserve and the caring, compassionate dental professionals they desire.
We have several state-of-the-art offices. Each office has a variety of incentive programs, some of which include:
Interest-free payment plans requiring no credit check. Online patient portals. Family discounts. Free initial consultations and second opinions.
By about the age of 12, children lose their last primary tooth. If your child is 13 years old, lost a baby tooth some time ago and a replacement tooth has yet to erupt or you notice that your child has extra teeth coming in, contact Docbraces today at 1-866-639-7695 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We have offices located in London and Ottawa, Ontario; Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island; Moncton, New Brunswick; and Truro, Dartmouth, Halifax, Nova Scotia. If you would rather request an appointment by filling out our online form, please click here.