Hearing that your child has anodontia, a genetic condition that causes the absence of all teeth, can be especially concerning. How will your child eat? How will they talk? Will they be made fun of at school? These are probably just a few of the many questions floating through your brain. While there is a multitude of knowledge to learn about this condition, focusing on the basics, at least for now, will help you come to terms with your child's condition and understand what you can expect in the years that follow. So, here's a look at the tip of the iceberg: answers to some of the most burning questions in your mind.

What caused your child's condition?

Anodontia is a very rare condition. It's usually one of many signs of a broad-reaching hereditary condition. However, there are times when anodontia can be present on its own. There are two genes which can cause anodontia. Both are autosomal recessive genes, which mean that both you and the child's other parent must be carrying the gene in order for your child to be born with this condition.

It's important to remember that your child's anodontia is not your fault. You had no way of knowing you were carrying this hidden, recessive gene. Nothing you did during your pregnancy caused the anodontia, either.

How will the condition be treated?

Most cases of anodontia will be overseen by a team of dentists and dental surgeons. Initially, they will work together to devise a treatment plan for your child from infancy until early adulthood.

Usually, the way this progresses is as follows:

  1. Your child will be fitted with a special pair of dentures to wear during childhood. These dentures may be adjusted as your child grows, or a new pair of dentures may be made every few years.
  2. When your child reaches their late teens, surgery may be performed to insert dental implants into their jaw. Once the jaw bone heals around the implants, false teeth will be attached to them.

Will your child look or feel different than other children?

In most cases, the dentures made for children with anodontia are not obvious unless someone looks closely at your child's mouth. Your child may need adult assistance putting in the dentures until they're a bit older, but once the dentures are in place, they can eat all but the crunchiest foods. Many children do need speech therapy, and therapy can go a long way towards ensuring they develop proper speech habits.

When your child gets dental implants, the end result will look just like natural teeth. Nobody looking at your child will have any idea that the teeth in their mouth are not real.

Finding out that your child has anodontia can be hard, but thanks to modern dental care, the treatment will allow your child to live a very normal, healthy life.