What is Hypodontia?


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What is hypodontia? Also known as tooth agenesis, the condition hypodontia in dentistry involves patients having missing teeth due to these teeth failing to develop. This condition actually involves patients missing up to 5 permanent teeth other than the third molars. In nine to thirty per cent of populations, missing third molars make an appearance.

Oligodontia is the condition of missing permanent teeth numbering six or more. This excludes the wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars. Anodontia is the condition for missing all permanent or primary teeth. Hyperdontia is another similar condition in which there are supernumerary teeth, or there are more teeth than normal. Other terms that have to do with reduced teeth number include a lack of teeth, agenesis of teeth, absence of teeth, congenital missing teeth and aplasia of teeth, among others.

A Common Condition

In human beings, hypodontia is the most common anomaly for dental development. The characteristics of hypodontia include missing between one and six teeth. This disease can be either syndromic or isolated. Syndromic is related to a systemic syndrome or condition. Isolated means that hypodontia can be non-syndromic.


When teeth are suspected to be missing, a panoramic radiograph and a clinical examination is performed. In six-year old kids of normal condition, all crypts of permanent first molars as well as all permanent teeth are visible at birth and crowns on radiography. Delayed teeth eruptions, the presence of diastemas, alveolar bone hypotrophy and the persistence of primary teeth suggest a hypodontia diagnosis.

Environmental Factors

Factors in the environment including chemotherapeutic agents, radiation therapy, infection or trauma as well having used thalidomide while carrying a baby can cause hypodontia. However, genetic factors are the most common cause. There are genes involved in the development of teeth that have to do with missing teeth that did not develop.

Unclear Cause

It remains unclear as to what really causes missing isolated teeth. It is believed that this condition is related to dental development environmental or genetic factors. Also, in increased maternal age, it has been reported that this condition is associated with it. It is also associated with an infection of the rubella virus during life in the embryo, multiple births and low birth weight. Often, this condition is familiar and is associated with Down syndrome and ectodermal dysplasia.

Hypodontia Treatment

There is long term management of many disciplines involved in hypodontia treatment. Practices of good oral hygiene, a healthy diet and the use of toothpaste with fluoride are all emphasized at early ages. It is necessary to have regular visits to the dentist. A tan early age, treatment to improve function as well as aesthetics and for minimizing the impact psychologically are performed. Treatments include prosthetics and orthodontics. Prosthetic treatment include fixed partial dentures, over dentures and removable partial dentures. Orthodontic treatment includes retainers or fixed appliances. These are all necessary to prepare for therapies in the future and for space management. Considerations for dental implants may also be applied as early as the ages of six and seven in the case of mandibular oligodontia.