In the past, people only showed up at your dental practice when they had a debilitating toothache or discolored or misaligned teeth. Nowadays, however, people are more vigilant about different dental issues. As such, they are upholding their routine dental appointments and starting their children’s dental visits when the first tooth erupts. This has allowed prompt diagnosis of several issues, including hypodontia. It is a condition characterized by having fewer than six congenitally missing teeth.
Before you contact a digital orthodontic lab for the fabrication of appliances that will manage hypodontia in your patients, get an X-ray to make an accurate diagnosis. In children, an X-ray will help identify congenitally missing teeth before their baby teeth fall out. Studies strongly link hypodontia to genetic issues, so it commonly runs in families. It is also common among kids with Down’s syndrome, ectodermal dysplasia, and cleft palate.
No matter the possible cause, here are some of the dental appliances you can use to manage hypodontia:
Braces will gradually move the teeth to fill the gaps left by missing teeth and make enough space for other treatments. Your patient can opt for clear braces like Invisalign or traditional metal brackets, depending on their preference and budget. Braces work best for people with one or two congenitally missing teeth.
Dentures can help people whose chewing, speech, and other functions might be affected by missing teeth. Most people can use their dentures for life, but others opt to have them as temporary measures while awaiting permanent treatments like dental implants. When dentures are used for teenagers and those whose jaws are still growing, periodic checkups are essential to adjust the dentures to fit the jaws.
Dental bridges are false teeth that will be held in place by binding them to the teeth next to the congenitally missing ones. Bridges are long-term solutions to hypodontia and will last for about fifteen years. They can, however, be used only after a patient’s jaws are fully grown. Moreover, the installation of bridges will require some shaving of the enamel on the teeth next to the gap. This might affect those with already weak teeth.
These are the most popular choices for hypodontia. An implant is a small screw surgically installed on the jaw. After the insertion, you can attach the dental crown on top of the screw. The implant and dental crown are a long-lasting solution that will look and function like a real tooth. The most commonly missing tooth is a premolar. Implants, however, are not ideal as replacement of premolars because the jawbone around here is not adequately strong to support the implant.
Many people do not appreciate the effects of hypodontia. Without one of the above solutions, your patients will have speech issues and problems when chewing food. The patient might also deal with jawbone deterioration since there is little or no stimulation of the bone at the point of the missing tooth. You should encourage all patients to get treatment for hypodontia to avert future issues.