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Tooth formation - delayed or absent

Alternative Names

Delayed or absent tooth formation; Teeth - delayed or absent formation

Considerations

The age at which the tooth comes in varies. Most infants get their first tooth between 6 and 9 months, but it may be earlier or later.

In some cases, children or adults are missing teeth they never developed. Cosmetic or orthodontic dentistry can correct this problem.

Causes

Specific diseases can affect tooth shape, tooth color, time of appearance, or tooth absence. Delayed or absent tooth formation can result from many different conditions, including:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Talk to your health care provider if your child has not developed any teeth by 9 months of age.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This will include a detailed look at the mouth and gums. You will be asked questions such as:

  • In what order did the teeth emerge?
  • At what age did other family members develop teeth?
  • Are there any other family members that have teeth that never "came in"?
  • What other symptoms are also present?

An infant with delayed or absent tooth formation may have other symptoms and signs that define a specific syndrome or condition.

Diagnostic tests are not often needed. Most of the time, delayed tooth formation is a normal finding. Dental x-rays are sometimes needed.

References

Tinanoff N. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 299.

Updated: 2/25/2014

Ilona Fotek, DMD, MS, Palm Beach Prosthodontics Dental Associates, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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