What if My Child is Missing a Permanent Tooth?

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Dental Care | 0 comments

As parents, we always want the best for our children, especially their health and well-being. Discovering that your child is missing a permanent tooth can be a concerning moment, prompting questions about what it means and how to address it. Cobb Orthodontics provides insights and guidance on children’s teeth, helping you understand the available treatment options.

Missing permanent teeth happens more often than you might realize. Even though it can cause some difficulties, there are ways we can deal with it. First, let’s cover how this condition can occur.

Causes of a Child Missing a Permanent Tooth

Children typically lose their baby teeth between the ages of 7 and 12. In most cases, the eruption of the underlying permanent tooth follows within six months after losing a baby tooth.

The chart below illustrates the age ranges for each tooth to erupt.

A chart of teeth with names, Missing a Permanent Tooth

American Dental Association

If a child loses a baby tooth but the permanent tooth does not appear in a reasonable amount of time, it could be for several reasons. Here are the two most common reasons:

Crowded Teeth

When the teeth are too crowded, it can happen that there isn’t enough space for the permanent tooth to emerge properly after the loss of a baby tooth. Here are two common problems that can result from crowded teeth affecting the eruption of a permanent tooth:

  1. The permanent tooth may become impacted. When a tooth is impacted, it cannot erupt through the gum properly. Usually, this happens when there isn’t enough space for the tooth to grow, so it gets trapped under the gum or against other teeth. It’s like a traffic jam for teeth!
  2. The tooth may emerge improperly, leading to teeth misalignment and bite problems.

It’s essential to address crowding early on to prevent complications and ensure the healthy eruption of permanent teeth.

The Permanent Tooth is Missing

The other reason for a missing permanent tooth is that the permanent tooth never developed. A tooth can fail to develop for various reasons:

  • The tooth fails to develop, often due to genetic factors inherited from both parents.
  • Injury to the mouth can damage the developing permanent tooth, leading to its absence.
  • Some dental conditions or syndromes affect tooth development, resulting in missing permanent teeth.

If you notice a missing permanent tooth in your child’s mouth, it’s important to schedule your child to see an orthodontist for evaluation and appropriate treatment.

How Does a Missing Permanent Tooth Affect Teeth Alignment?

One of the primary concerns associated with a permanent tooth is its impact on dental alignment and bite. Each tooth plays a crucial role in maintaining proper spacing and alignment. When a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth may shift positions over time, leading to crowding, spacing, or misalignment. These changes can affect the aesthetics of your child’s smile and increase the risk of other dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Treatment Options

We aim to provide personalized orthodontic treatment solutions tailored to your child’s needs. Depending on the circumstances, treatment options may include:

Treatment for Impacted Teeth: The treatment for an impacted tooth depends on its location and severity. Mild cases may benefit from orthodontic treatments, helping to bring the tooth to its correct position. Severe cases, especially involving wisdom teeth, often require surgical exposure or removal.

Orthodontic Treatment: Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners, can help gradually shift the teeth into their proper positions, addressing spacing and alignment issues associated with missing teeth.

Dental Implants: For cases where a single tooth is missing, we may recommend a dental implant to replace the absent tooth permanently. If your child is not yet at an age suitable for dental implants, you may consider other options, such as dental bridges or removable partial dentures.

Early intervention is critical when addressing missing permanent teeth in children. By addressing the issue promptly, we can help minimize long-term complications and ensure optimal dental health and aesthetics as your child grows.

The Cobbs Kids Program is a Complimentary Program for Children Ages 7-12

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist no later than age 7. If a problem is detected and we advise treatment, you provide your child with the most appropriate treatment at the most suitable time.

Our Complimentary Orthodontic Bright Beaming Smiles (COBBS) Kids Program is for children ages 7-12. The program consists of regular complimentary visits for our young patients. Our COBBS Kids Program is the beginning of a healthy, beautiful, and lifelong smile.

If you have any concerns or questions about your child missing a permanent tooth or any other concerns about their tooth development, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Cobb Orthodontics. Together, we can work towards achieving a healthy, beautiful smile for your child that they can proudly share with the world.

Warm regards,

Dr. Tripp Cobb
Cobb Orthodontics


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