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5 Rare Dental Conditions and How to Spot Them Early

Most of us are well-versed in common dental problems such as cavities, teeth grinding, severe tooth pain, and tooth abscess. However, there also exist a few less common and less known dental health problems.

While these rare dental conditions are not untreatable, dental practitioners agree that these problems should be addressed as soon as they are identified. Getting screened for oral health abnormalities is helpful in detecting these problems, especially for kids whose teeth are still in the development stages.

Beautiful woman with healthy teeth

1. Anodontia / Hypodontia

Patients who develop no teeth at all suffer from a rare genetic condition called anodontia. When a person develops a few teeth but up to 5 of them do not grow, the condition is called hypodontia. Oligodontia, another variant, refers to the absence of 6 or Jonathan Borbamore teeth. These conditions persist even as the person enters adulthood.

How Is Anodontia Related Ectodermal Dysplasia?

Ectodermal dysplasias are a diverse group of genetic disorders that cause abnormalities in the hair, nails, skin, glands, and teeth. While rare, anodontia and hypodontia are common among patients with this disorder. Dental manifestations of the disorder begin at the crown of the tooth and may cause the following dental problems:

  • Enamel Problems – Thinner, softer enamel may lead to increased cavities and tooth pain that aches more than the usual. Discolouration and small pitted dentations may also be present in the enamel of hypodontic patients

  • Delayed Tooth Eruption – Dysplasias are a tissue growth issue. Teeth develop late in patients who suffer from the condition. They may also grow in an unusual pattern, causing abnormalities in the jaw

  • Abnormal Structure Smaller than average teeth that are shaped like globes, cones, and can appear tapered and pegged in shape. Some grow sharp enough to cause problems in the mouth. In some cases, even the root is shaped abnormally, causing taurodontism, another rare dental condition where a tooth’s pulp chamber enlarges vertically and 3 to 4 times the normal size

  • Underdeveloped Alveolar Ridges and Bone Missing teeth prevent the alveolar ridges and bone from developing. Without these, a person develops a narrow, pointed chin, and may find it difficult to chew and swallow food. Others may develop speech problems, too

  • Decreased Saliva – Some forms of ectodermal dysplasia disallow the normal production of saliva in the body. Dry mouths make teeth more prone to bacteria and cavity build-up

Addressing Anodontia

Because anodontia and its variants are genetic, they cannot be reversed or cured. The problems following these conditions, however, can be addressed by dental implants or dentures. Seek early treatment so your child won’t have to suffer from the discomfort or pain caused by underdeveloped facial structures, speech impediments, and problems with eating

2. Hyperdontia

Most adults are expected to grow a set of 32 teeth. Approximately 2% have more than that, growing extra ones behind or close to the primary teeth. Most patients with hyperdontia only develop one extra tooth which can be found at the back of the mouth, in line with other molars or behind or around one of your incisors.

Its exact causes are unknown, but hyperdontia is linked to hereditary conditions such as cleft and lip palates, Gardner syndrome, and cleidocranial dysplasia.

Does Hyperdontia Hurt?

Usually, hyperdontia isn’t painful, but the extra tooth can push against the jaw and gums, causing them to swell and ache. The condition can also cause overcrowding, which makes the permanent set of teeth appear crooked

Early Diagnosis & Treatment

Hyperdontia can only be spotted once a person develops all of their teeth, making it hard to predict among children. It may show up on a routine dental X-ray if teeth are starting to grow.Most cases of hyperdontia do not need treatment, save for the occasional pain relief for an aching tooth nerve. The dentist, however, might recommend tooth removal if the extra tooth starts to cause more serious dental problems such as chronic toothaches, tooth decay, and gum disease

3. Dentinogenesis Imperfecta

Translucent or discoloured teeth can be a sign of dentinogenesis imperfecta. This is another rare genetic condition that prevents the dentin in the teeth from developing correctly. Discoloured teeth due to DI can show grey-blue or yellow-brown undertones and affect both the patient’s baby and permanent teeth.

What Are the Dangers of Dentinogenesis Imperfecta?

The DSPP gene provides instructions for the proteins in our body to form dentin, the second layer of tooth structure under the enamel. A certain mutation in this gene causes the dentin to form incorrectly and abnormally softens the middle layer of the tooth. This makes the teeth weaker than usual, exposing it to damage, fractures, wear, and ultimately, tooth loss

Get a Complete Assessment

An accurate diagnosis for a possible genetic link to DI can be obtained with the help of a physician and dentist, who can refer the patient to a specialist. The dentist may also recommend crowns and fillings to strengthen increasingly brittle teeth. If the DI causes tooth loss, replacements or dentures may be necessary

4. Amelogenesis Imperfecta

Another genetic condition, amelogenesis imperfecta is the absence of enamel. Patients with AI have small, discoloured, pitted teeth that are prone to breaking. It can develop as early as childhood and increases risks for other dental issues if left untreated.

What Are the Complications of Amelogenesis Imperfecta?

Enamel, the protective layer of teeth, is the first line of dental defense against tooth decay. Made of calcium phosphate, enamel shields the inner layers of the teeth from acids and plaque, preventing sensitivity caused by hot or cold foods and beverages. Without enamel, the sensitive parts of the teeth are left exposed to the risks of early tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic sensitivity issues.In some cases, patients with AI also develop malocclusion, characterized by an underbite or overbite caused by the misalignment of the upper and lower teeth

Options for Treatment

The recommended treatment for this condition depends on the classification of the AI diagnosis. Aside from restorative treatment to restore the size, shape, strength, and appearance of the affected teeth, braces are the recommended solution if the patient develops an underbite or overbite. Because of the absence of a protective layer, the patient needs to maintain good oral habits to prevent the prevalence of tooth decay and gum disease

5. Aggressive Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a serious infection of the gums caused by bacteria build-up in the teeth and gums. It starts out as gingivitis, and can lead to more serious damage to the teeth and bones.

What Are the Symptoms of Aggressive Periodontitis?

A rare subcategory of this disease, aggressive periodontitis is a rare condition among juveniles that causes teeth to “detach” from the gums more rapidly than is normal. Symptoms include bleeding gums, flaring and spacing of the front teeth, bad breath, and pus discharge from the gums. When a person between the ages of 15 and 30 exhibits these symptoms, they are most likely to suffer from this dental condition

Can This Be Treated?

Left untreated at the early stages, patients may suffer from earlier tooth loss because of aggressive periodontitis. Depending on how severe the damage is, the treatment options can vary, from deep dental cleaning and root planing to dental surgery. Antibiotics are also necessary to address the infection

If you or your child is developing early signs of these conditions, visit Cosmo Dental Centre to learn more about nipping the problem in the bud. Trained and experienced dental professionals await you to help with all your dental health worries. Call (519) 659-2767 to make an appointment now!


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