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Tooth formation - delayed or absent

When a person's teeth grow in, they may be delayed or not occur at all.


The age at which a tooth comes in varies. Most infants get their first tooth between 6 and 9 months, but it may be earlier or later.

Sometimes, children or adults are missing teeth they never developed. Cosmetic or orthodontic dentistry can correct this problem.


Specific diseases can affect tooth shape, tooth color, when they grow in, or tooth absence. Delayed or absent tooth formation can result from many different conditions, including:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Talk to your health care provider if your child has not developed any teeth by 9 months of age.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will perform a physical exam. This will include a detailed look at your child's mouth and gums. You will be asked questions such as:

  • In what order did the teeth emerge?
  • At what age did other family members develop teeth?
  • Are any other family members missing teeth that never "came in"?
  • What other symptoms are present?

An infant with delayed or absent tooth formation may have other symptoms and signs that indicate a specific medical condition.

Medical tests are not often needed. Most of the time, delayed tooth formation is normal. Dental x-rays may be done.

Alternative Names

Delayed or absent tooth formation; Teeth - delayed or absent formation


Dean JA, Turner EG. Eruption of the teeth: local, systemic, and congenital factors that influence the process. In: Dean JA, ed. McDonald and Avery's Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent. 10th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2016:chap 19.

Tinanoff N. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2015:chap 307.

Review Date 2/22/2016

Updated by: Michael Kapner, DDS, general and aesthetic dentistry, Norwalk Medical Center, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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