Understanding Pegged Teeth

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No matter if it's the first or fifth baby, parents-to-be have plenty of items on their to-do lists as they await the arrival of their new bundle of joy. Those tasks go hand-in-hand with a whole new list of concerns too — the baby's health chief among them. And while issues like getting to the hospital occupy spots at the top of the list, pegged teeth are something parents should be aware of since the condition can affect adult teeth.

What Is a Pegged Tooth?

A tooth is considered pegged when it has a cone-shape and is significantly smaller than average. This condition typically affects the lateral incisors (on either side of the front teeth), as noted by the American College of Prosthodontists. On rare occasion, though, pegged teeth have been discovered on the mandibular incisors (lower front teeth) as reported by the Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences.

In some cases, permanent adult incisors fail to develop, and the patient is left with only baby teeth in their place. As noted by the ACP, an actual pegged lateral incisor results when an underdeveloped adult tooth emerges — once the baby tooth falls out.


Pegged teeth can be caused by several conditions. They could be an indication of Hutchinson teeth which is a result of congenital syphilis when the baby is in utero. Hutchinson teeth will also be smaller than usual and more widely spaced. Medical Dictionary also lists Williams Syndrome and Ectodermal Dysplasia as potential causes of pegged teeth.

Treatment Methods

If you or your child suffers from this condition, consult with your dentist. He might recommend seeing a prosthodontist. They specialize in restoring or replacing missing teeth with natural and aesthetically pleasing methods. Including crowns, veneers, bridges and partial dentures, to name a few options.

Whether they have pegged teeth or not, your children will need to learn the value of taking care of their teeth. They're more apt to implement a good oral care routine that will last them the rest of their lives if they learn early in childhood. Teach them to brush at least twice each day and to reinforce those brushing benefits with proper flossing. When your children are young, start them off with the Colgate My First toothbrush. It has extra soft bristles for gentle yet effective cleaning, along with a non-slip handle designed to fit both you and your child's hands. The toothbrush head is specifically sized for small children whose teeth are still developing. Lastly, you and your children should have regular dental check-ups. If your children see you getting your teeth cleaned, they'll view dental visits and taking care of their teeth in a positive light.

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Top Tips for Good Oral Care During Childhood

  • Brushing and flossing
    Begin using toothpaste to brush your child's teeth when he (or she) is 2 years old. Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing, rather than spitting it out. Introduce fluoride toothpaste when your child is old enough not to swallow it. As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day. You can use regular floss or special plastic floss holders.

  • Dental visit
    New parents often ask, "When should my child first see a dentist?” Your child should see a dentist by his or her first birthday.

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