Why do I have missing teeth and what can I do about it?

Some people are born without some of their permanent teeth, and this condition is called congenitally missing teeth.

Genetic factors cause congenitally missing teeth and this condition is often seen in generations of a family. So, if mum, dad and/or grandparents have missing teeth, it is quite common that this can pass on to future generations.

The most common missing teeth are:

  • wisdom teeth
  • upper lateral incisors (the teeth either side of the front teeth)
  • and second premolars/bicuspids in the upper and lower jaws (in front of your first big molar tooth)

As there are many reasons for a missing permanent tooth, the best way to visualise what is happening is often through a set of dental x-rays.

When it comes to a missing permanent tooth, there are typically three options for correction or treatment:

  • preserve the primary tooth for as long as possible
  • replace the missing tooth with a prosthetic tooth
  • orthodontically close the space

There are several ways in which orthodontics can be used to help when a child has a missing permanent tooth. For example, orthodontic treatment can create a space in the area where a tooth should have grown. This type of treatment is used to make the appropriate space for a dental implant or bridge. Another option is to close the space where the missing tooth should be positioned. You can also opt to preserve the primary (baby) tooth and replace this if need be in the future.

Your general dentist or local Orthodontist would need to complete an assessment and discuss the possible treatment options for each individual.


Joanna Levins

Oral Health Therapist

BOH Latrobe University

Peninsula Orthodontics

134 Tanti Avenue Mornington