Back To Blog

Tooth Agenesis Treatment and Causes

Dr. Paul O'Connell Profile Image

Last Reviewed 23 May 2024

Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul O'Connell, Bachelor Dent. Sc. (Trinity College Dublin) 2004, Practice Limited to Orthodontics

Table of Contents

Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontic Consultation At 3Dental
Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontics Consultation At 3Dental - Orthodontics
Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontic Consultation At 3Dental
Dr. Paul O'Connell Explains Orthodontics Consultation At 3Dental - Orthodontics

Tooth agenesis - also known as the absence of one or multiple teeth - is a congenital condition that affects both milk and adult teeth. There are varying forms of agenesis, but all can impact dental function and self-esteem.

The condition is highly treatable, and our dentists can create a bespoke plan to address your agenesis, give you renewed confidence, and improve your dental function.

What Is Tooth Agenesis?

Dental agenesis - or congenitally missing teeth - occurs when a person's teeth fail to develop.

Dr. Paul O'Connell

It's often caused by genetic disorders inherited through families or environmental factors. However, missing permanent teeth that occur due to trauma don't count as agenesis.

As a relatively common dental condition, people with agenesis have access to different treatments that improve their smile and address issues with speech and chewing.

There are different types of tooth agenesis, with each varying in severity.


Hypodontia is the most common and mild form of agenesis. It happens when a person is missing between one and six of their permanent teeth.

Dr. Paul O'Connell


Before And After (Click to enlarge)

- Smile In A Day

While children can experience hypodontia, they don't require treatment unless their adult teeth don't erupt.

Adults with hypodontia usually experience missing upper lateral incisors and second premolars, but it can impact other teeth.


Adults with six or more missing teeth have a more severe form of agenesis called oligodontia.

Dr. Paul O'Connell

This lack of tooth development is often caused by genetic disorders and underlying medical conditions.

Oligodontia can have a range of side effects, including limited dental function, and people with the condition often require more treatment than those with hypodontia.


Before and After (Click to enlarge)

- Smile In A Day


Anodontia is the rarest form of agenesis, in which no permanent teeth are present.

Dr. Paul O'Connell

The condition often occurs due to genetic mutations and medical conditions. Due to its severity, treatment often involves a multi-disciplined approach.

What Are The Symptoms Of Tooth Agenesis?

Psychological EffectsWe'd all love a perfect smile, and the agenesis of permanent teeth can impact a person's self-esteem. It's easy to understand why this happens - and treatments can make you feel ready to take on the world.
GapsMultiple missing teeth cause gaps and spaces between the remaining teeth. The gaps are more noticeable if agenesis is present in the incisors or top front teeth.
Smaller TeethSome people notice the teeth adjacent to missing teeth appear smaller, or their lateral incisors have a distinct peg shape.
Jaw ProblemsMissing teeth can impact jaw development, causing a sunken look in the face.
Dental FunctionLacking permanent teeth might cause speech issues and chewing difficulties—especially when the premolars and incisors are missing.

What Are The Causes Of Tooth Agenesis?

Tooth agenesis can occur due to genetic, familial, and environmental factors, but it's a congenital condition. Understanding the root cause of dental anomalies is key to implementing effective treatment options.

Familial Tooth Agenesis

The majority of cases occur due to a family history of agenesis. If a parent has the condition, their children are more likely to suffer from it due to genetic predispositions.

Gene mutations can impact primary teeth in young children, which might continue into adulthood.

Health Conditions And Genetic Disorders

Some health conditions, including cleft lip and palate, ectodermal dysplasia, and Down's syndrome, can increase the risks of dental agenesis. Babies with low birth weight and previous candida or rubella infections are more likely to suffer from congenitally missing teeth.

Medical treatments

Children who receive treatment for cancer might develop agenesis of permanent teeth later in life. Studies show that radiotherapy, chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation can inhibit tooth development (Wiley).

Find Out How We Can Help Your Smile

Based in Dublin, Limerick and Galway - we offer free, no-obligation consultations :)

Book Your Free Consultation

Treatment of dental agenesis

Dental agenesis can negatively impact your life, but seeking treatment can help you rediscover your confidence and enjoy showing off your smile. When you first visit us, we'll take an X-ray and assess the severity of your condition.

Once we understand your smile goals, a specialist dentist will develop a bespoke permanent tooth agenesis treatment plan.

Orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment won't fix missing teeth but can prepare your mouth for further treatments. Your dentist will assess whether braces will be beneficial and advise you on the most effective orthodontic treatments.

Braces can encourage your existing teeth to move into their natural positions, creating enough space for us to fit implants and bridges.

Dental implants

Dental implants are a popular solution for agenesis. They replace missing teeth and promote jawbone health.

When fitted, they can enhance dental function and prevent speech issues. Implants are also highly durable, typically lasting for many years.

We ensure that our patients receive the best possible implants, carefully matching them to the colour of their teeth to give them a natural smile.

dental bridge - 3dental
Dental Bridges Explained by Dr. Carmen Anastasi - Bridges


If you have minor agenesis, bridges can be a more convenient - and affordable - solution. Bridges fill the gaps where missing teeth should be, by attaching to the adjacent teeth.

They can also prevent the need for a bone graft, making them popular for people who want to avoid surgery.


Dentures can benefit congenitally missing teeth, but many people avoid them due to their potential to move around. However, technological advances now mean implant-retained dentures are growing in popularity because they address the problems posed by traditional dentures.

Book Your Free Consultation With 3Dental

If you'd like to address tooth agenesis and access a range of treatment solutions, we'd love to help you get the smile you deserve.

With an expert team of dentists and affordable treatment plans, you can discover the best treatments and enjoy flexible payments.

Book your free consultation today :)

Our Locations

The Red Cow Complex, Naas Rd, Fox-And-Geese, Dublin, D22 KV24

Old Quarter House, Little Ellen St, Limerick, V94 D72V

28, Briarhill Business Park, Galway, H91 C9DR

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I Prevent Tooth Agenesis?

Maintaining proper prenatal care and understanding the risk factors of agenesis can ensure proper fetal development, but congenital conditions are hard to prevent.

If you have a history of missing teeth, genetic testing can identify whether your child is likely to inherit the condition, enabling your dentist to offer regular dental checkups and monitor tooth development.

How Does Tooth Agenesis Affect My Oral Health?

Gaps between teeth often mean food particles accumulate, increasing the risk of gum disease. Maintaining a proper oral health routine is essential for preventing gum disease.

How Does Tooth Agenesis Affect My Appearance?

It depends on the extent of your agenesis and which teeth are missing. For example, missing premolars aren't as noticeable as the absence of maxillary lateral incisors, so you might not deal with any aesthetic issues.

Severe agenesis can reduce your self-esteem and impact daily life, but seeking treatment can restore your confidence.

Recent Reviews

Kieran Spillane

“Can’t recommend 3Dental Limerick enough. I’ve got composite bonding here years ago and I’ve had trouble with one tooth in particular that has chipped a couple of times (my own fault) and Fearghal has...”

Niamh Cryan

“I had such an amazing experience at 3Dental Limerick! I had braces when I was younger and in the ~9 years since they came off my teeth had started to slightly move back into a more crooked alignment....”

Ashley Hynes

“I couldn’t recommend 3Dental Galway enough. The staff are so professional and accommodating. Dr. Paul O’Connell was fantastic. I had fixed braces and bonding to my teeth and I couldn’t be happier...”

Evan McMahon

“Would highly recommend Aishling the dental hygienist at 3Dental Galway. Very professional, positive, and down-to-earth person. She makes time to speak you, whilst also been very informative and...”

Marie Nevin

“I can smile again, thanks to Dr. Andrea and her team. I would totally recommend 3Dental Galway. I was treated with the utmost care and professionalism from start to finish.”

Clare McSharry

“I travelled from Sligo to Galway to get 2 teeth implants done by Dr. Andrea Uribarri. The service was excellent during the implant process. I have been back for 1 checkup, and I'm really happy with...”

Nicole Ward

“Highly recommend 3Dental. Just had my braces removed after 1 year and a half and so happy with the results. My orthodontist Tatiana was amazing to deal with, so calming and friendly at every visit....”

EJ Ryan

“Very happy with the excellent professional service from Peter Doherty.”

Brian Cooper

“Didn't think I would be given a review about a dentist, but I have to highly recommend 3Dental about their professional team, especially Dr Peter Doherty, who looked after me with my dental implants,...”

Ciaran Kavanagh

“Where do I start, I was looking for some dental work to be done,I knew it was not going to be any straightforward procedure. I searched the Internet and found 3Dental. I am so glad that I did, I am...”


“Never bothered by having to go to the dentist again. I had to get whitening, bonding and a crown done over the space of a year and it was a great experience. The team are A1 and Fergal is a great...”

Keith O'Brien

“I would highly recommend 3Dental. This time last year I was in constant pain with infections and my teeth were in a bad way. I came across 3Dental while searching for dental implants. I had...”

Eileen Dempsey

“I have just had my Implant, from Doctor Peter Doherty, and have to say i was treated so well from start to finish, and the end result is amazing. I am so very happy with my new smile, i will attend...”

Viv van der Holst

“Firstly apologies for the delay in writing this review. I have been too busy smiling again :) And chewing food normally. I cannot express enough the gratitude I feel towards Dr Andoni Jones and his...”

Sean Dentur

“I got 6 implants over past 2 years in 3Dental. Very efficient/professional and kind staff. Would highly recommend them.”

Whitney Culleton

“I had an consultation for composite bonding with a female dentist back in December and I left not feeling great about the app so rather than leaving a bad review I reached out to Dr Niall for a...”

Tara Henshaw

“I had composite bonding done with Dr Carmen and gingivectomy with Dr Andoni Jones , they were both brilliant. Thanks so much to them both they were so friendly and so good at their job I'm delighted...”

Caitlin Morrison

“I've been going to 3Dental the last year with Dr Carmen. She's amazing so nice and her work is great Got my composite bonding with her defo recommend always give advice and always there if needs be...”

Jane Russell

“Such a brilliant clinic with fantastic service. Had to have a couple of things done with fillings and bonding so I saw a number of dentists, all of whom were total pros and expert at what they do. A...”

Caroline O'Brien

“I have had lots of treatment and also my 2 daughters here in 3Dental which included root canal wisdom tooth extraction crowns and now implants and All on the same premises. All staff we have met have...”

Ready for the Next Step? Book Your Free Consultation

Enquire Now View Pricing Options