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Orthodontic Treatment for Missing Lateral Incisors

By Kellyn Hodges on October 07, 2017

A close-up of a patient’s mouth, her teeth fitted with bracesIt is not unusual for people to be born with missing teeth, most commonly the lateral incisors. The lateral incisors are the teeth on either side of your two front teeth in your upper jaw. In some families, congenitally missing lateral incisors is a trait that has simply been passed down from generation to generation. Other people are born without lateral incisors for reasons that are completely unknown. What is common among all people who are born without lateral incisors is that they can resolve their issues through orthodontic treatment, whether through the use of traditional braces to close the space or through the creation of more space to accommodate tooth restorations.

If you or a member of your family requires orthodontic treatment for missing lateral incisors, Philadelphia, PA orthodontist Kellyn Hodges can help you decide on the treatment protocol that is best suited to your particular case. She can explain your options to you in comprehensible detail, taking the time to address your questions and concerns, and recommend the treatment plan that is likely to produce the best possible results in your circumstances.

Aside from cosmetic concerns, the lack of lateral incisors can cause serious bite and jaw problems. If you would like to learn more about the orthodontic treatment options for missing lateral incisors, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Kellyn Hodges today.

Canine Substitution

Canine substitution involves the use of traditional metal braces to move the teeth in the mouth so that the canine teeth - the pointed teeth normally located adjacent to the lateral incisors - fill the gap where the missing lateral incisors should have been. In essence, the canine teeth then become the lateral incisors. The other teeth, of course, also move into relatively optimal positions to ensure a strong, healthy bite free from gaps.

While this is an effective means of treatment for many patients with congenitally missing lateral incisors, it is generally necessary for Dr. Hodges to work with a cosmetic dentist to ensure the most aesthetically pleasing results possible. The canine teeth will not necessarily appear natural once moved into their new positions in the mouth, so some cosmetic work will help to produce a more conventional smile.

Use of a Dental Restoration

Dr. Hodges can also use orthodontic therapy to create a larger space between the two front teeth and the canine teeth so that artificial lateral incisors can be inserted into the space. These artificial incisors may take the form of a dental bridge or implant-supported dental crowns. The latter are generally considered preferable because, unlike the former, they do not rely on surrounding natural teeth for support. In either case, the artificial teeth will help the patient to retain the results of orthodontic treatment, as they will prevent the natural teeth from shifting out of their new positions in the mouth.

Learn More about Orthodontic Treatment for Missing Lateral Incisors

To learn more about orthodontic treatment for missing lateral incisors, please contact Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics today.

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