A bit like the ultimate lottery of life, genetics play a major role in our health, our wellbeing and our physical appearance. And just as genetics may impact the colour of your eyes, the shape of your nose, and whether or not you are prone to allergies, they also impact your teeth.
In fact, genetics play a role in a number of dental conditions, so here’s an insight into the link between genetics and teeth…
Missing adult teeth
The average adult has 28 permanent teeth and four wisdom teeth. But for a small percentage of the population they have fewer because one or more adult teeth fail to come through and replace the baby teeth.
Known as congenitally missing teeth, the scenario affects up to two per cent of the population, with the lateral incisors the most likely teeth to be affected.
On the opposite end of the scale, genetics is also linked to supernumerary, or extra, teeth. In this case additional adult teeth form that may or may not erupt. These extra little numbers tend to be shaped differently to other teeth and can erupt anywhere in the mouth.
Defective tooth enamel
Technically known as amelogenesis imperfecta, this inherited condition affects the tooth enamel.
It can either cause mineralisation of the hard exterior of the tooth or results in less enamel production than normal and as a result may lead to teeth that are small, discoloured, pitted and grooved, or prone to wear and breakage.
Inside the teeth, genetics can also play a role, affecting the formation of the dentin. Known as dentinogenesis imperfecta, the condition usually impacts the colour, shape and strength of the teeth, leaving them more prone to wear.
There’s a reason children and their parents may share the common bond of needing braces – misaligned teeth and/or jaws (malocclusion) is also linked to genetics. Malocclusion may present as crooked teeth, overcrowding, irregular spacing or an upper and lower jaw that do not align correctly. The good news is, with orthodontics, it’s a common and simple scenario to fix.
Gum disease is most often linked to poor dental hygiene but can also involve hereditary factors. In its early stages gum disease presents as swollen or reddened gums, and at this point it is reversible.
If not treated, gum disease can progress to a more serious condition that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth and may lead to tooth loss.
Known as gingival fibromatosis, this hereditary condition involves an overproduction of collagen that causes an overgrowth of gum tissue.
See your dentist
If you suspect problems with your teeth may be associated with genetics, you should visit a dentist for a complete assessment. Many genetic conditions are manageable and best treated early.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.