When permanent teeth do not emerge, because they do not exist, the phenomenon is called hypodontia. Researchers estimate about 20% of people may have 1-2 congenital missing permanent teeth. However, my case was a little more unique.
When I was in second grade, my panoramic x-ray showed I was missing 8 permanent teeth. To say that my parents were shocked was an understatement. For most parents, learning that their daughter is missing 8 teeth could feel incredibly overwhelming. However, rather than feel overwhelmed by the news, my parents were awestruck. What are the odds that a Prosthodontist’s first-born daughter would be diagnosed with severe hypodontia? Statistically speaking I imagine it is low, but fortunately for me, I am blessed to call Dr. Christian Silvaggio my dad. My dad is a board-certified Prosthodontist and my mom told me when she and my Dad first got married, she gave him a hard time about picking Prosthodontics for his residency because she had never really heard of the profession. She laughs about it now because thank goodness he did! I was never afraid during the 8 years it took to create my smile because I knew my dad would do everything and more to give me a beautiful, natural smile. Yes, because he is my dad, but more so because he is a perfectionist who cares so much about helping all his patients. He also had extensive dental work done when he was a teenager, so he knows first-hand how important it is to create the right treatment plans for each individual patient’s needs.
Once my dad knew about my missing teeth, he created a treatment plan that involved collaborating with an oral surgeon and an orthodontist. The treatment plan was long because each specialist played a different role and I had to stop growing before I could have my fake teeth placed in my mouth. Finding the right specialists that you can trust is important if you discover that your child has missing teeth. I had all different types of dental work done, including years of braces and retainers and my teeth were jagged. At first, no one noticed, but as I got older, and all my peers teeth came in, my smile still had a lot of gaps. When I was in middle school, some of my classmates made fun of me because I looked different. Being teased was hard on my self-esteem and there were many times that I remember not feeling confident smiling in pictures with my friends and classmates.
However, now at 17-years-old, thanks to my dad and the other specialists he collaborated with, I have this amazing, confident, beautiful smile that most people cannot even tell includes fake teeth. For the longest time, I was embarrassed to share my story, because I was afraid how other people would react by the news, but I am not afraid anymore. God created me with missing teeth and blessed me with a dad who knew exactly what to do to help me. If you have missing teeth, I am confident my dad can help create a beautiful smile for you too. I am proud of the work my dad did for me and I am grateful he gave me back my confidence which as you can see from the senior photos that Renee Gutierrez (reginagutierrezphotography.com) took of me this summer, I am no longer afraid to smile! In fact, I can confidently say that…My Smile Says It All.