Answers To Your Questions About Anodontia

Dentist Articles

Anodontia is a rare genetic condition in which a child is born without any baby or adult teeth. If your child's first baby teeth have not erupted by about one year of age, your dentist may have warned you of the possibility that your child has this condition. You probably have a lot of questions about your child's future health and available treatments. This article aims to answer some of those questions.

Are all children with anodontia missing all of their teeth?

Technically speaking, yes, since the term "anodontia" means "absence of teeth." However, there is another similar condition known as hypodontia, in which a child is missing some, but not all, of the teeth. If your child has not yet reached 3 years of age, the age at which all of the primary teeth have typically erupted, there is a chance that some baby teeth will erupt. Teeth generally erupt in a certain order -- the front teeth first, followed by side incisors and canines, and then by the molars. It's possible that your child is missing just the first teeth to erupt, and that a few months down the road, those later-erupting teeth will come in.

Other than waiting, how can you find out if your child really does have anodondia?

When you first begin to suspect anodontia or hypodontia, most dentists will recommend taking x-rays of your child's jaw. This will reveal whether or not the baby and adult teeth are missing. Once the x-rays are taken, your child can be given a formal diagnosis.

Will a child with anodontia get adult teeth?

No; in patients diagnosed with true anodontia, the baby and adult teeth are both missing. In some patients with hypodontia, however, just the baby teeth or just the adult teeth are missing. Your dentist will be able to tell you, based on x-rays, if there are any adult teeth that will come in later. If your child does have some adult teeth, the diagnosis will be hypodondia, not anodontia.

Did your child inherit anodontia?

Anodontia and hypodontia are heritable conditions. Since they are inherited through recessive genes, this does not mean a parent has to have anodontia in order for the child to be born with it. Both parents can be carrying a hidden recessive gene for anodontia. If two parents with a recessive trait for anodontia have a child, they have a 25% likelihood of having a child with the condition.

How will your child be treated?

The general treatment for anodontia, and also for cases of hypodontia in which a large number of the teeth are missing, involves fitting the child with dentures. The dentures will allow your child not only to eat properly, but also to speak properly.

When your child's jaw stops growing, your dentist may recommend having dental implants put in place. A full set of implants will eventually look and feel just like natural adult teeth. They must be placed in the jaw through a surgical procedure, but in the long run, they tend to be less hassle than wearing dentures, since your child will not need to take them in and out or worry about them fitting improperly and causing sores.

Are there other non-dental symptoms associated with anodontia?

Many, but not all, patients with anodontia also suffer from abnormalities of the skin, hair and nails. There is a condition called ectodermal dysplasia that sometimes leads to anodondia, along with other skin and hair conditions. Your dentist or doctor may recommend a series of tests to determine whether your child is likely to develop these other symptoms as he or she ages. In other cases, you may simply wait to see if they develop.

If your child's dentist has suggested the possibility of anodontia, it's important to remember that until x-rays have been taken, there is a chance your child's teeth are just late to erupt. Once you do have the x-rays in hand, you and your dentist will know exactly how many baby and adult teeth your child has, and you can then plan accordingly.

For more information, contact a local children's dentist


18 June 2015

All About Full and Partial Dentures

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