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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Kids

Missing teeth and bone



I have a 20 month old daughter who is missing all the teeth on the upper left side of her mouth. Not only are the teeth not there, but her entire gumline seems to have little or no bone in place. The rest of her mouth, gumline, and teeth are perfectly normal. I have spoken with a pediatric dentist, a pediatrician, a general practitioner and an orthopaedic doctor.

No one seems to know what to do with her. The dentist`s focus is one assuring me that we can figure out a way to get her a full mouth of teeth. However, I am mostly concerned about this being indicative of her having some type of bone deficiency throughout her body.

Have you ever heard of other cases of this? Who should I turn to next?


It appears that your child has a rare condition that involves missing primary (baby) teeth. This will also mean that she will not have permanent teeth in that area. A thorough oral exam with radiographs is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. The most common condition associated with multiple missing teeth in children is ectodermal dysplasia and a host of other problems accompany that condition. Your description of your daughter's missing teeth, however, leads me to suspect a type of regional odontodysplasia that does not involve any other general health problem.

An academic health center is a good place to consider for a second opinion of your daughter's condition. These facilities can assemble a team of experts in various health fields to consult together on her diagnosis and plan of treatment.

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Response by:

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University