If the child does not develop permanent (second) teeth, he may later have problems with the teeth if no measures are taken to prevent or treat the condition.
The appearance of permanent teeth in a child may be absent due to one of the following reasons:
– In most cases, permanent teeth have been destroyed by the early caries or an accident. Molars and premolars are the most susceptible to early caries.
– Permanent teeth may not have developed. This is most commonly occurring with upper incisors and premolars.
– Permanent teeth may have developed, but they could not penetrate through the gums due to the impressment in the root of the adjacent tooth. The impressment is most common in upper canines, premolars and wisdom tooth.
The loss of a single molar due to caries in childhood can cause a number of problems in later life. For example, an appropriate molar in the other jaw will have too much space for a growth and can interfere with chewing. When chewing, the jaw moves left-right, as well as up-down, so the molar – if it falls into the empy space between the tooth above or below it – will prevent the sideways movement of the jaw. Therefore, the food will not be thoroughly chewed, and the molar should be taken out.
The next problem is also common. Since the teeth on both sides of the missing molar have no support, they will gradually bend or lean into the gums. Because of that, a child will probably avoid chewing with that side of the mouth. In very rare cases, chewing on only one side of the mouth can exert your jaw joints and cause pain while eating.
Other teeth naturally grow into the area of the missing teeth. In this case, they can swing too far from the gums or grow at an angle, which can lead to compression or malocclusion (misalignment) of the tooth. When a person bites or chews the food, the jaw is not properly closed, and that strains both the teeth and the jaws. Improper tooth growth into the gap makes it difficult to clean the teeth; food can ”stuck” in those hard-to-reach places, which then can cause caries and gingivitis.
What to do?
Regular control will allow the dentist to detect and resolve any problems that may arise due to missing teeth. If your child has lost a permanent tooth, consult your dentist. If you suffer from any of the described long-term discomfort, you should see the dentist.
The dentist may fill gaps (i.e. empty spaces) with fake teeth, or take measures to correct improper teeth. In that case, he will “use” your teeth to fill the gaps – for example, by mounting a dental plate or with an operation in which he takes some teeth and relocates them to the right place. The operation (transplantation) requires general anesthesia and, usually, staying in hospital for 2-3 days.