Local News

Rare genetic condition leads way to child dentures

Posted April 20, 2016 6:23 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2016 11:28 p.m. EDT

— Parents know the signs when their baby is teething: drooling and putting objects in their mouths. A rare genetic condition—which causes children to permanently miss some or all of their teeth—could initially go unnoticed by parents.

Four-year-old Madelynn Gore began visits with Dr. Timothy Wright, a pediatric dentist at UNC Hospitals, after her two side molars arrived, without the presence of her front baby teeth.

“He [Wright] said, ‘Oh gosh, I’m not sure if she has any teeth up there,’” said Gore’s mother, Ladema.

Madelynn Gore has a genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, which affects development or function of teeth, hair, nails and sweat glands.

“In her case, most of it is really related to her tooth formation,” Wright said.

The Gores said they were referred to Wright because he also specializes in developmental defects in teeth.

In the gaps where teeth never sprouted, Madelynn Gore has special dentures.

“She doesn’t know any different, and so it’s part of life,” Ladema Gore said.

Madelynn Gore’s old dentures recently broke, so she’s getting a mold to create new ones. They help her to eat what she likes, but they’re also important for self-esteem.

“Two things human beings focus on when they look at someone is their eyes and their mouth,” Wright said. “So, having a smile in our society is pretty important.”

Gore will have to get new dentures as she grows over the next 10 to 15 years. When she stops growing, Wright said she would be a good candidate for dental implants.

“We're just so grateful, and we hope he doesn't retire any time soon,” Ladema Gore said.