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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Missing Adult Tooth

03/31/2011

Question:

I have a missing adult tooth in the lower jaw, it was highlighted at my orthodontic appointment but i still have my baby tooth. this happened to my mum so i know its genetic, hers lasted till she was 22 then its started crumbling. however in the past few days everytime i have been eating it has started to be painful and started to crumble. I`m only 18! what is my best option considering the pain from eating and the fact that everytime I`m eating its like im eating a part of my tooth!

Answer:

It is common for over-retained deciduous (baby) teeth to have problems when patients reach their twenties. Sometimes the baby tooth can be filled with or without medication inside the tooth but this is generally a temporary short term fix. Usually the baby tooth will have to be removed which should be easy. Then the patient and dentist must decide whether to fill the space/replace the tooth or not. If the bite is stable and the patient doesn't care and/or doesn't notice the missing tooth when talking, eating or looking (esthetics), then the space can be left as is. If not, then an implant or some type of cemented in false tooth (bridge) would be the answer.

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Response by:

David Lee Hall, DDS David Lee Hall, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University