The Case of the Missing Teeth



Our oldest was a late little teether. She only had one little nubbin’ of a tooth on her first birthday.

First Tooth

Slowly but surely she got more and more as these kids seem to do. There were dentist visits, some more memorable than others, and we finally decided to switch dentist offices because we felt like we weren’t getting the best care for all of the baby teeth we had to take care of in our house.

Then at almost 6, she lost that same first tooth. It was very emotional for me. I mean, I grew all of her in my body, but for some reason, seeing that little piece of her in my hand that I helped grow got me all weepy.

first lost tooth

Of course, she was pleased as punch!

True to my word, after the memorable dentist visits, it is now one task I charge to Mr. Serious. Of course, he hasn’t learned that I want answers to all of the questions and he needs to get all of the information.

The Good?

This last visit, he brought home copies of their digital x-rays.

Missing adult teeth

The Bad.

But, he also brought the news that our oldest is missing two adult molars. He asked no questions…NONE! He then also told me that the hygienist said that her top teeth (incisors?) were abnormally small for an adult. Guess what. They aren’t adult teeth! So, instead of not having two adult teeth, she’s missing FOUR!

missing adult teeth

I had a million questions for the husband.

What do we do?

Do we leave the baby teeth forever?

Do we have the baby teeth pulled when the next teeth start coming in?

Will they move around and settle on their own?

Will she need bridges or implants down the road?

I took a deep breath and calmed down. Mostly because I knew he had like zero answers. I get it…he’s just not one to ask questions, but I needed them. I then put in a call to the dentist to get some answers.

Now what?

The dentist told me there were quite a few options, most of them involving some time to see what her teeth do. But, they did say, unlike I would have thought and many other parents think, not to wait until she’s a teenager, check out this infographic which outlines the process. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends taking children for their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. The American Dental Association says this is because, “Your child’s dentist can spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.” So, our next step is to find an Invisalign specialist.

Mr. Serious and I never had braces, but I remember friends having them and how uncomfortable they were socially (forget eating spinach, or really anything in front of people). And, since Invisalign and braces have the same cost, I think the virtually invisible (an adult friend had them, I never would have know if he hadn’t have said something), less socially awkward aligners are the way to go.

My freaking out has calmed down a little. We have a plan. We will schedule a consultation to see what is recommended. There are still many other baby teeth to lose, but we need to know what to do about the ones that she will never lose.

Do you still have any baby teeth? Do you wish your parents/ orthodontist would have treated it differently? I don’t want our daughter to have to teeth with teeth issues when she’s an adult that we could have resolved when she was a child! 

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    1. That sounds like a deal. A bonus tooth. That one I’ve never heard of before. Is it like a duplicate of one tooth?

  1. I’ve never heard of missing adult teeth.
    I’m sure you’ll make the best decision.
    We just had our first dental visit (yeah, I’m really late on this one) and things went well.

    1. Glad your first visit for him went well. Things have gone better here after the first couple, but this was definitely one for the books. I had heard of missing teeth and honestly, the molars I figured were no big deal, but front teeth seem kind of serious.

  2. I was missing 4 adult teeth (and am now an adult). The only thing I would say is find a great orthodontist who you trust and keep an eye on the baby teeth. I had to go through braces twice (once in my early twenties) because the ortho I had didn’t notice the baby teeth were sinking. Now my teeth look great and 4 implants better you can’t tell the difference.

    1. The implants and braces are what I’m worried about. And, finding one we can trust. I wish I knew what the right thing to do was right away.

  3. It’s crazy the commitment we have with our teeth! I guess they are pretty important!

    My 7 year old has an expander in her mouth now! Braces in the winter!

    1. Yikes…at 7? Yeah, that is crazy, right? Then again, I know of a friend that had her son start them this early, too!

  4. My friend was in her early 30s before having her baby teeth removed (she had 2 missing adult teeth) and had implants put it. She would have kept them as long as she could, but they were having movement problems that affected her surrounding teeth.

    All parents are faced with difficult decisions, and we do the best with the information we have at the time. It will be okay!

    1. My worry is exactly this. Cavities that might happen later when she’s older!

  5. It’s great that you’re caring for her teeth at such an early age…and so important! Find a fabulous orthodontist that you trust and one that doesn’t suggest pulling teeth (if that can be avoided). I’m sure you’ll make great decisions. This situation is more common than you think!

    1. So, no pulling. I’m just nervous she’ll get cavities later in life!

  6. Oh my goodness it’s so crazy that she’s missing 4 teeth! We have a kiddo that had almost all his major baby teeth by age 1. We actually went to the dentist today and he told me his teeth are advance for his age. We’ll need a panoramic xray soon to make sure they’re all growing in the right way. You’d never think little teeth would cause so much stress.

  7. Neither my husband or I have any baby teeth, but my aunt actually still has one of her baby teeth in her mouth now – and she is nearing 60. There was never an adult tooth under it and the baby tooth never fell out. They didn’t see a need to pull it, so there it sits!

    1. That’s nice to know. That’s the thing with these baby teeth…no adult tooth to push the baby ones out! Glad your aunt’s teeth are holding strong!

  8. Lily had teeth very, very early. First one came on the day she hit 4 months, the second one a week later. She lost her first tooth when she was 4.5 years old. She’s about to turn 7 and she’s lost 9 so far. We’ve been lucky with her teeth except for the fact she has deep grooves and is prone to cavities. We actually opted for a laser dentist since they don’t do anesthesia for fixing cavities after a bad incident with a drill that cut her very numb tongue. I am perfectly happy spending the extra funds to avoid the pain! My husband had a very crowded mouth and had to get adult molars removed to fit the remaining teeth comfortably! Best of luck and I know you’ll make good decisions!

    1. Oh my goodness…that is terrible. I’m glad you found a good dentist to help with using a laser.

  9. I have a friend who still has four of her baby teeth (she is 45). Her teeth all look adult and I never would have known if it weren’t for that extra glass of wine one night. Fear not.

  10. I am missing numerous adult teeth. In fact, here I sit, around 29 years old, and I still have baby teeth in my mouth. It’s a long sordid tale of multiple visits to the orthodontist, oral surgery, and the like, but I have a pretty decent looking smile if I do say so myself:).

    1. Wait…I’m stuck on the 29 thing….

      I’m not reassured by the surgeries and orthodontist, but good to know that you have lots of little teeth still hanging out!

  11. It’s crazy how finicky teeth can be! I let mine get bad (I had no insurance to keep them as healthy as I should) and I’ve been desperately looking at Invisalign to help fix my problems. Thanks for the chance!

  12. mrs. hils says:

    I only had 3 wisdom teeth. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that…

    1. I’m not laughing…really, I’m not. But, look how much that likely saved you when having them removed, right?

  13. My mother swears that she did not have baby teeth and that she never lost a tooth. Her adult teeth came in first. I have no idea how true that is, but maybe it is more true than I think. Maybe those ARE her adult teeth and she will keep them forever.

    1. No baby teeth…I think she’s fibbing you, right?

      For my daughter, they definitely aren’t her adult teeth, they are tiny and have much shallower roots like her other baby teeth.

  14. I had way to many teeth…
    had to get 4 pulled (they were crowding my mouth)

    1. Is it bad that I hope this is the case? But, it’s going to be a while before we find out for sure.

      1. Crossing my fingers for you 🙂
        I had 4 teeth pulled, for crowding my mouth… Then had my wisdom teeth removed (okay, 3 of the 4 removed) then on to braces… I feel ya on this 🙂

  15. Ugh, I really hate my teeth – and I had 10 teeth removed as a kid AND braces. I have said so many times that I want Invisalign. I SO hope I win!

    1. Oh my goodness…good luck! I can’t imagine. I had my 4 wisdom teeth removed and had a terrible reaction and I was green and swollen for weeks.

  16. My Dr. Dental says:

    Leave it to husbands not to get all the facts, haha. Your dentist is right though. It is best to get everything sorted out before she reaches her teens. Invisalign is a great way to go about it, so don’t fret. Your baby’s dental problem will be sorted out in no time at all.

  17. Thanks for sharing this very personal experience of yours. I think that you should be commended for keeping track of your child’s dental health. If you did not do this, chances are that you would have missed this completely.

  18. Brandon Roberts says:

    Something like this actually happened to one of my friends kids. His son was missing one of his adult teeth. So when he lost his baby tooth, he had no tooth to grow in. But, his son did end up getting a dental implant to fix the problem. So I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

  19. Charles M. Golliday says:

    The information you have provided is valuable and I want to give you a huge thumbs up for it 🙂
    Dental implants can be considered as one of the best solutions for people with broken or missing teeth. Since this process is designed to provide a strong foundation for replacement tooth that appears, feel and functions just like the original tooth, rest assured you will not be disappointed at all.

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