A Question of Missing Teeth…

Missing permanent teeth or premature loss of baby teeth is one reason why the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends an orthodontic consultation for children beginning at age 7. The upper lateral incisors, second premolars and third molars (wisdom teeth) are the teeth most likely to fail to develop or erupt. Heredity is considered a major factor when permanent teeth are congenitally missing.

To determine whether or not teeth are actually missing, x-rays must be taken and carefully evaluated by an orthodontist. At times, a tooth may not actually be missing, but hidden underneath the gums and in poor position, preventing normal eruption and requiring orthodontic treatment to bring the tooth into alignment.

When permanent teeth are missing, an orthodontic consultation will determine if the space caused by the missing teeth can be closed or remain open, requiring a replacement to fill the space and maintain the bite. Without orthodontic treatment, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth will move randomly and tip into the open space, causing poor tooth alignment, bite problems and bone loss as we age.

If the problem is diagnosed at an early age, a simple appliance (space maintainer) is placed to hold the space and makes orthodontic treatment easier, when all the permanent teeth erupt. In some instances, if a space maintaining appliance is inserted and all the other teeth erupt normally into the mouth, orthodontic treatment can be avoided after wearing a very simple appliance. A general dentist can then replace the permanent tooth, if it is missing, when the child is old enough, with an implant and crown or another type of permanent replacement.

Orthodontic Space Maintainer

A permanent tooth is missing underneath the X.ย 
The applianceย holds the molar in position while the rest
of the permanent teeth erupt.

The appliance is cemented on the teeth so you
don’t have to worry about it as long as the patient is
brushing their teeth regularly and staying away from
sticky foods.

We are pleased to provide you with this helpful orthodontic information. Orthodontists Dr. Leon Klempner and Dr. David Amram of Coolsmiles offer traditional braces, Invisalign clear braces, and the finest state-of-the-art orthodontic care available in the Long Island area for you and your family. For more information, please visit our website at https://coolsmiles.comย or contact our office to schedule a free consultation at either of our two locations in Port Jefferson, NY or Medford, NY.

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