Teeth are an essential part of our bodies. We can’t eat without them and we can’t smile without them. Not only that, they are vital for our health and longevity, so it’s important to take care of them. But what if you don’t have any teeth to take care of? This is called anodontia, and is a problem face by some people who are missing some or all of their teeth. If you know someone that has this condition, you might want to recommend this article, which will discuss treatments for it as well as other important information. Read on to learn more!
What is Anodontia?
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When a baby smiles without their teeth, it is cute and normal. However, what if their teeth never appear? That would be an interesting development, wouldn’t it? Congenitally missing teeth, also called anadontia or anodontia vera, is actually a rare genetic illness connected to other dental conditions such as oligodontia and hypodontia. This is different from missing teeth due to injury or a dental condition.
Partial anodontia means that you have some of your teeth (not all). Depending on how many teeth you have, it can be referred to as:
- Oligodontia: more than six permanent teeth are missing.
- Hypodontia: up to six permanent teeth are missing.
These conditions may involve either the permanent or the primary (baby) sets of teeth. However, most cases involve the permanent teeth. Anodontia is associated with a group of non-progressive nerve and skin syndromes know as ectodermal dysplasia.
Causes of Anodontia
Anodontia is actually an inherited genetic deficiency, although the precise genes which cause it are unknown. As mentioned in the previous section, it is commonly associated with ectodermal dysplasia, which is not a disorder, but rather a group of closely associated genetic illnesses which affect the skin, nails, hair and sweat glands.
Here are some other causes of anodontia:
- 8p minus syndrome
- Ectodermal dysplasia
- Autosomal recessive traits
- Hutchinson Gilford Syndrome
- Classic Ehlers-danlos syndrome
- Chromosome 18p minus syndrome
- Catania form of Acrofacial dysostosis
- Amelo-onyo-hyphidrotic syndrome
Signs and Symptoms of Anodontia
Because primary teeth have usually come in by the age of three, any absence of them may be an indication or symptom of anodontia. Most permanent teeth have come in by age 12-14, excepting wisdom teeth, so if none have come in, an X-ray may be needed.
If you do have anodontia, you may also experience abnormalities of the sweat glands, nails and hair. In many cases, anodontia is a component of the afore-mentioned ectodermal dysplasia.
Treatments for Anodontia
There is actually no way to treat anodontia. I suppose a better way of saying that is that there is no safe way to simulate the growth of genetically missing teeth. If there are only a few teeth missing, you may not want to seek treatment at all. However, there are some ways of adding artificial teeth to improve your appearance and make eating and speaking easier. These include:
- Dental implants: implants may involve adding artificial roots in the jaw to hold a replacement tooth (or teeth) in position. These implants will have the most realistic look and feel of natural teeth.
- Dental bridges: bridges are fixed or non-removable replacements which bind the artificial teeth to the surrounding teeth, thus filling in any missing spaces. These work best if you are only missing some of your teeth.
- Dentures: these are removable replacements for missing teeth. They are the most effective and common treatment for anodontia.
If you have anodontia, it will be hard for you to speak and eat. So, if you want to overcome your condition, you may consider following one of the above suggestions for artificial teeth. Not only will this benefit your day-to-day-life, it will also give your confidence a boost!