Genetics plays key role in tooth development

By now, we all know genetics plays a key role in a person’s overall health. But did you know that genetics also could determine how your teeth develop? Microdontia – characterized by very small teeth – is a common problem that often runs in families.

Dr. Charles W. Wakefield

Dr. Charles W. Wakefield

Adults affected by this condition may have small teeth with gaps between them, making them look like baby teeth. Teeth that are too small may not fit together or chew properly, which can cause excessive wear and tear.

Fortunately, your dentist can correct this problem easily.

Dr. Charles W. Wakefield, professor and director of the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, says that depending on the severity, you can choose composite bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns that can be applied to change both the size and shape of the teeth to provide a more “adult” appearance.

“Composite or porcelain veneers don’t remove excessive tooth structure and are very conservative restorations,” Dr. Wakefield says. “Composite bonding is used most commonly for younger patients whose teeth haven’t fully erupted or for patients on a tight budget, but it doesn’t last as long as porcelain veneers. Restorations made from porcelain often have superior durability and appearance.”

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