Anodontia is a dental condition characterized by complete absence of teeth. The primary (baby) or permanent (adult) teeth may be involved. Anodontia is extremely rare when present in a pure form (without associated abnormalities). In most cases, the phenomenon is associated with a group of conditions called the ectodermal dysplasias. In these cases, abnormalities are also noted in the hair, nails, and sweat glands.

Congenital absence of permanent teeth can present as hypodontia, usually missing 1 or 2 permanent teeth, or oligodontia that is the congenital absence of more than 6 teeth. Congenital absence of all wisdom teeth, or third molars, is relatively common. Anodontia is the congenital absence of teeth and can occur in some or all teeth (partial anodontia or hypodontia), involve two dentitions or only teeth of the permanent dentition (Dorland's 1998). Approximately 1% of the population suffers from oligodontia. Many denominations are attributed to this anomaly: partial anodontia, hypodontia, oligodontia, the congenital absence, anodontia, bilateral aplasia. Anodontia being the term used in controlled vocabulary Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) from MEDLINE which was developed by the United States National Library of Medicine. The congenital absence of at least one permanent tooth is the most common dental anomaly and may contribute to masticator dysfunction, speech impairment, aesthetic problems, and malocclusion (Shapiro and Farrington 1983). Absence of lateral incisors represents a major stereotype. Individuals with this condition are perceived as socially most aggressive compared with people without anodontia (Shaw 1981).


  • Missing teeth
  • Failure of one or more teeth to develop


Anodontia is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition. A specific gene has not yet been identified.


Prosthetic replacement of missing teeth is possible using dental implant technology or dentures. This treatment can be successful in giving patients with anodontia a more normal appearance.


  • NIH