In this instance the spaces have been opened for replacement with glued-in bridges (resin bonded bridges). If done well, the replacement teeth look great and can last for on average about 8-10 years. Very little preparation is required for the fitting of these replacement teeth.
In this example the teeth have been moved together and the upper eye-teeth have been camouflaged to resemble the missing upper lateral incisor teeth. This is a simple procedure in which white filling material is glued to the teeth. It may need polishing or replacing form time to time if it becomes stained.
An alternative solution is to consider dental implants (screw-in teeth). These are almost indistinguishable from natural teeth. In this case the upper left lateral incisor (on the right of the picture) has been replaced with a dental implant. The provision of dental implants is highly specialised work. They are not placed in growing individuals and the screw requires a minimum space of 6.5 mm between adjacent teeth, which is not always possible.
Developmentally Missing Teeth
Sometimes teeth do not form - the technical term for this condition is Hypodontia or Developmentally Missing Teeth. This condition is relatively common with a reported prevalence of between 3-7%. It is generally thought to be a genetic problem as it often occurs in families.
This dental x-ray shows a child with missing milk teeth and missing adult teeth. Missing milk teeth are relatively uncommon. This condition is frequently mild (up to 6 missing teeth) but occasionally can be severe.
Orthodontic braces are often required when there are missing teeth to reposition the natural teeth so that replacement teeth can be provided to give a pleasing dental appearance. There are often two possibilities for treatment:
- To close spaces and camouflage adjacent teeth to mimic the missing teeth.
- To reposition the existing teeth so that replacement teeth can be provided to fill the gaps.
An example of missing upper permanent lateral incisors. I this instance the spaces have been opened so that the missing teeth can be replaced. There are several options for filling in these spaces.