A child with ectodermal dysplasia—a group of genetic disorders that causes abnormal development of the skin, nails, hair, or teeth—requires early dental treatment and close dental monitoring throughout the development years. Careful dental planning also allows for adjustments or replacement of removable prostheses your child may need as he or she continues to grow. After permanent teeth come in, you can discuss more permanent dental solutions with his or her dental team.
Dental Problems Related to Ectodermal Dysplasia
The dental implications of ectodermal dysplasia include missing teeth or teeth that grow in small and pointed. In some cases, defects in the structure of tooth enamel are present.
Abnormalities in the development of tooth buds during the fetal stage are responsible for these dental irregularities. Although severity of the condition varies among individuals, abnormal or missing teeth can lead to problems with speaking and eating. The good news is early prosthetic treatment generally results in marked improvement.
Dental Treatment for Children With Ectodermal Dysplasia
While orthodontic treatment often is necessary for children with ectodermal dysplasia, there are a number of other dental care options available. Some options are required for successful orthodontic treatment.
Treatment for pointed teeth includes rounding off teeth with tooth-colored composite resin materials or the application of veneers to create a more normal appearance. Dentists often use composite restorations in combination with partial dentures when treating a child with ectodermal dysplasia.
In addition to improving a child's appearance, composite restorations serve a functional role. The use of composite materials restores missing tooth structure to provide the right shaping on malformed natural teeth that will support partial dentures.
A child may need removable partial or complete dentures at an early age to replace missing teeth. Dentists generally do not recommend treatment modalities that involve permanently fixed prosthodontics for children since their jaws are still growing.
Even if your child has many missing teeth, a dentist may not recommend complete dentures if the edentulous alveolar ridges are underdeveloped—a condition that often occurs in children with ectodermal dysplasia due to the lack of tooth development. The alveolar ridges must be able to support a dental prosthesis; otherwise, it may be difficult for a child to keep dentures in place. Strong alveolar bone ridge is also needed to support any future dental implants.
Dental Implants and Other Prosthodontic Treatments
Dental implants are an option for replacing missing permanent teeth later in adolescence. But before offering implants as a treatment, a dentist considers a child's stages of dental and skeletal growth rather than his or her actual age.
Bridges, caps, and crowns are additional options once all of your child's permanent teeth have fully erupted. Your child may require root canal treatment prior to the placement of crowns.
Whatever treatment options you discuss with a dentist experienced in treating children with ectodermal dysplasia, proper prosthodontic treatment can enhance your child's self-esteem and improve his or her quality of life. Schedule an appointment with your dentist office today for more information.