Missing Teeth Or Too Many Teeth Can Cause Problems

If you are a parent of a young child, you have probably experienced many firsts in their lives. Some of these anticipated firsts include the arrival of their first teeth, the loss of these teeth, and the arrival of their permanent teeth. But what happens if this does not happen when it should, or when it happens your child quickly grows too many teeth? One condition is called hypodontia and the other is hyperdontia. Both of these are conditions that will need to be addressed by your family dentist.


Sometimes your child may be missing teeth due to them failing to develop. The correct terminology for this depends on how many teeth are missing. If they suffer from:

  • Hypodontia - they may be missing anywhere from one to five teeth, excluding their third molars. You may also see this referred to as tooth agenesis.
  • Anodontia - they will be missing all of their teeth. This can affect either their primary or their permanent teeth.
  • Oligodontia - they will be missing more than six permanent teeth, not including their wisdom teeth, or 3rd molars.

Although both hypodontia and anodontia can occur with baby teeth, they are more commonly seen when baby teeth are shed and permanent teeth do not erupt.

Missing wisdom teeth, or 3rd molars, are not included in the tooth count because this is actually more common than you may think. It can affect up to 30% of the population, and is mostly found in people of European descent.

It is unclear as to what causes your child to not develop their teeth as most people do. It is believed that the following may have an impact. These include:

  • Genetic disorders
  • Heredity
  • Increased maternal age
  • Multiple births
  • Low birth weights
  • Allergies
  • Exposure to certain drugs
  • Thyroid conditions during pregnancy
  • Certain infections during pregnancy and more

The condition is generally detected by x-rays as a part of your child's routine dental exam, or after you have expressed concern to your family dentist about the delays your child seems to be having in cutting their teeth.

It is important that it be addressed once it is discovered. This is because, depending on where the missing teeth are located, they can affect your child in several different ways. These include affecting the following:

  • Speaking
  • Chewing
  • Facial structure
  • Bite patterns
  • Other tooth structures

The missing teeth can be addressed with dental prosthetics such as implants, bridges, or even dentures. The final treatment plan will be fully customized to meet your child's individual need.


The opposite problem your child may present with is hyperdontia, or when they develop too many teeth. These teeth may also be called supernumerary teeth. This condition is diagnosed anytime your child develops more than 20 primary or baby teeth or more than 32 permanent or adult teeth. This is not as uncommon as you may think, especially when it is only one excess tooth. It is a little less common for there to be multiple supernumerary teeth. 

They may appear anywhere in your child's dental arch, or they may remain unseen in your child's gums, where they will only be able to be identified by x-rays. Unfortunately, even if they do not erupt, they may still cause problems by delaying the permanent teeth your child is waiting on or causing other types of positioning problems.

The cause of this condition is most commonly associated with some other type of condition or syndrome, although it can be an inherited condition. Some of the associated syndromes include:

The exact cause of the condition remains unknown. Once the teeth are identified, it is important that they be addressed and removed before they cause problems with the teeth that are supposed to be present. 

Your family dentist will work with you to develop a treatment plan to address this, as well as any other dental problems that your child may have. Addressing dental problems early in life can help to prevent ongoing dental problems throughout your child's life.    

Check out the site of a family dentist for more information.