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Tooth formation - delayed or absent

Alternative names

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


The timing of the first appearance of teeth varies. Most infants get their first tooth between 6 and 9 months, although earlier or later eruption may be normal.

In some cases, children or adults are missing teeth they never developed. In such cases cosmetic or orthodontic dentistry can correct the absence of those teeth.

Common Causes

Specific diseases can have a profound effect on tooth shape, tooth color, time of appearance, or tooth absence. Delayed or absent tooth formation can result from many different conditions, including:

  • Down syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Ectodermal dysplasia
  • Chondroectodermal dysplasia
  • Cleidocranial dysostosis
  • Apert's syndrome
  • Progeria
  • Incontinentia pigmenti achromians

Call your health care provider if

If your child has not developed any teeth by the time the child is 9 months old, consult your health care provider.

The health care provider will perform a physical examination, including a detailed examination of the mouth and gums, and ask 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, when taken together, define a specific syndrome or condition.

Diagnostic tests are usually not necessary unless a disorder is suspected as the cause. Most often, delayed tooth formation is a normal finding. Occasionally, dental x-rays will be needed.

Update Date: 10/9/2003

Michael Kapner, D.D.S., Comprehensive and Aesthetic Dentistry, New Rochelle, N.Y., Editor, Ninth District Dental Association. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT