Can adults still have baby teeth?

After 28 years, an English woman has finally dropped her last remaining baby teeth. Emily Cheeseman from Tunbridge Wells in Kent was diagnosed with hypodontia. Hypodonia is a condition noted by adult teeth not developing in otherwise healthy people and can occur for a variety of reasons, including genetic, hormonal, environmental, and infectious reasons.

Mrs. Cheeseman had to undergo extensive dental work to remove her baby teeth. Vanity was not her main concern regarding the smile she had; she was concerned about the future health and well-being of her mouth. The process was time consuming and involved several dental treatments. After a dental examination, Cheeseman first had to undergo a tooth extraction. After the teeth were removed, her gums were worked on to prepare her mouth for permanent dental implants. In addition, she had to undergo orthodontic treatment to get her teeth perfectly aligned in preparation for her new grin.

Most of us have experienced the natural rite of passage of losing a baby tooth, getting some change from the tooth fairy, and then growing a permanent tooth in the empty void. However, those diagnosed with hypodontia are the exception to the rules. While the condition may seem harmless enough, medical research in the field proves otherwise.

A study conducted by the University of Kentucky (Lexington) found that the condition is linked to cases of ovarian cancer. The study results, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (February 2008), found that 20 out of 100 ovarian cancer patients suffered from the disease.

If you’ve never experienced the biological process of losing your baby teeth and growing your adult choppers, talk to a dentist or your healthcare provider to discuss this. While some cases of hypodontia are purely genetic, other cases could represent a bigger health problem.

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