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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Son is 2 and missing lower tooth

09/01/2006

Question:

My son is 2 and only has 3 teeth in between his lower incisors instead of 4. It drives my husband crazy is this ok or should I be concerned?

Answer:

Great question. Let's look at this from a practical standpoint. There are a few possibilities:

- Your child is missing (congenitally) a tooth.  Just because a baby tooth is missing does not mean the adult tooth will be. At this point, however, no intervention is warranted. If the baby tooth is missing and the adult one comes in with no space - it may be removed, or put into correct position orthodontically (with braces).

- Your child's tooth is delayed coming in. The "eruption tables" you see at dentist and physician offices as to when teeth come in are based on averages, and some children will be delayed. I assume that your child has most of their other baby teeth in place, so this possibility is more unlikely in your situation.

- Your child's tooth is stuck and can't come in properly (impacted).  This is fairly unusual in the lower front teeth, but still possible.

All children should ideally see a dentist within six months of eruption of their first tooth or by age one.

This sounds like an issue where a clinical exam by a pediatric dentist is a good idea. They may elect to take some X-rays to see if the tooth is present or not. Whereas there is no real treatment that can be done at this time, it is something that can be monitored and followed up with treatment as needed in the future. Esthetically, it is typically minimally noticeable, and any space issues can often be corrected with braces in the future.

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Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University