There is little doubt that babies look cute once they begin to get their teeth and although a smile with baby teeth missing can still look attractive, it may require further investigation by your dentist. Most babies will begin to get their primary or milk teeth from the age of six months onwards, and they should have a full set of twenty teeth by the time they celebrate their third birthday. But what happens if one or more of these teeth fail to develop? It is rare for a tooth to fail to appear but it does happen. Around 0.5% to 0.9% of children will have a congenitally missing baby tooth.
We will keep a close eye on the development of your baby’s teeth and can take x-rays which will show if the tooth is underneath the gums or if they have baby teeth that are missing. If the tooth is underneath the gums and is just being slow to erupt, we may decide to use a space maintainers which helps keep open the correct amount of space for this tooth until it is ready to poke through the gums. One of the problems with a congenitally missing baby tooth is that it’s unlikely there will be a permanent tooth developing under the gums. It’s most common to be congenitally missing one or two teeth rather than multiple teeth.They can be absent for a variety of reasons and sometimes congenitally missing teeth are simply hereditary or are associated with various syndromes, including Down syndrome.
Using Implants and Bridges to Replace Missing Teeth
Fortunately there are many treatment options for congenitally missing teeth. Pediatric dental surgery to fill the gap with a partial denture or dental bridge is one option, but we will wait until a child is fully grown before deciding on a more permanent solution for this problem. Unfortunately it is impossible to have pediatric dental implants as the child’s jaw must be fully grown and they will normally need to be at least aged 18 before they can have this treatment.
Other Reasons for a Smile with Missing Teeth
Of course there are other reasons as to why a child will be missing teeth. Quite often children with two front teeth missing will have had them knocked out in a sports injury or will have lost them due to childhood tooth decay. Tooth decay is entirely preventable, and our dentist can work with you to make sure this doesn’t happen to your child. If they like to play sports, ask us about custom-made mouthguards which will help minimize the risk of serious dental injuries (Dental Sports Injuries) and hopefully prevent them altogether.