Microdontia: When Teeth Fail To Grow To Full Size

15 January 2021
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Human teeth are fairly similar from one person to another. There are some minor differences in size and shape from person-to-person, but for the most part, people get 32 teeth that will grow to a fairly predictable size and shape. But what about when one (or more) of your teeth seems to give up halfway through its growth? And what about if some of your teeth seem to be simply refusing to grow?

A Failure to Grow

Microdontia is a condition where a person's teeth fail to grow to full size (remaining micro). The condition can affect all the teeth in your mouth, but generalized microdontia is quite rare. Localized microdontia, limited to a single tooth (or a small number of teeth) is more common. Even when it appears that a tooth is entirely missing, this can also be attributed to microdontia. This is the case when the tooth is present but has remained beneath the gingival tissue and failed to erupt from your gum line. What has caused this disruption to the normal development of your teeth?

Possible Causes of Microdontia

There can be a number of causes of microdontia. The condition can be a result of certain types of congenital growth disorders, genetic abnormalities, or even as the result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy during tooth development. It's not as though microdontia can be reversed, so there's no way of triggering growth in the affected teeth, but once the teeth have grown to their full (although comparatively small) size, corrective treatment can begin to ensure all the teeth in your mouth are the correct size and shape.

Common Treatment Options

The necessary corrective treatment is actually a form of cosmetic dentistry. The tooth's aesthetics (cosmetic appearance) are addressed, and in doing so, this also ensures the functionality of the tooth. Especially small or unerupted teeth are generally extracted, as they can result in localized cysts and infections if they're left in position. These gaps can be filled with a dental implant or with a dental bridge, which will be connected to the teeth on either side of the gap. When a tooth doesn't require extraction but still needs to be increased in size, this is generally achieved with a dental crown.

Untreated microdontia can result in dental problems, but for most people, it's primarily a cosmetic concern. The best treatment will depend on your exact circumstances, but microdontia isn't especially complicated to correct.

For more information about this and other cosmetic dentistry, contact a clinic like Universal Dental Center.