Missing Teeth

The normal number of baby teeth is 20 and these are all lost to make way for the permanent (adult) teeth. The normal number of adult teeth is 32; this includes four wisdom (third molar) teeth. The transition to the permanent dentition starts at around six years of age and continues until around 12 years of age. It generally occurs in two stages. First the upper and lower front incisor (8) teeth are lost and replaced with permanent incisors and the four six year old molars erupt behind the baby molars. This is usually completed by eight years of age. In the second stage the remaining baby (12) teeth are lost and replaced by 12 adult teeth, eight premolars and four second molars.

Some children do not develop a full set of permanent teeth. The most commonly missing teeth are the upper lateral incisors, second premolars and third molars (wisdom teeth). Most children who have missing teeth will only have one or two missing teeth. Children who have more than this number missing may have a special genetic condition called ectodermal dysplasia.