Do you know that you can have enamel hypoplasia which is a genetic disorder?
Enamel hypoplasia and hypomineralization are two teeth defects you might confuse upon hearing.
This is because both of these often occur due to genetic predisposition that affects the development and enamel of your teeth.
Moreover, this condition indicates incomplete or underdeveloped tooth enamel.
Enamel is the outermost protective layer of your tooth that protects it. it is composed of mineral-based compounds that your body creates to form teeth.
In some cases, during the formation of enamel formation, certain glitches may occur that leave the areas of the enamel at sub-optimal levels of strength.
You might observe it in the form of lines across the surface of one or multiple or can show itself as discoloration of your teeth.
However, in rarer cases, your entire tooth may have a dark brown discoloration.
Let’s learn more about it in detail.
Understanding Enamel Hypoplasia
Enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of your teeth.
This condition often results in thin enamel, which makes your teeth vulnerable to dental decay.
Some of the visual signs you might observe are white spots, pits, and grooves on the outer surface of your teeth.
It is important to note that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, however, it does not contain any living cells and is unable to repair itself or improve on its own.
Therefore, if you or your child has enamel hypoplasia, you will need a dentist to monitor your teeth and act promptly to repair the problem areas.
Causes of Enamel Hypoplasia
Defective enamel development can be the result of an inherited condition: Amelogenesis Imperfecta or congenital enamel hypoplasia.
Moreover, according to estimates about 1 in 14,000 people in the United States suffer from this condition.
It is important to note that this condition can also cause usually small teeth and a number of dental problems.
Congenital enamel hypoplasia can also happen alone or as a part of a syndrome that affects other parts of your body.
Usher syndrome, Seckel syndrome, Ellis-van Creveld syndrome, Treacher Collins syndrome, otodental syndrome, 22q11 deletion syndrome or velocardiofacial syndrome, and Heimler syndrome other heredity syndromes that can cause enamel hypoplasia.
However, it is important to note that enamel hypoplasia can also result from prenatal issues like:
- maternal vitamin D deficiency
- maternal weight gain
- smoking during maternity
- drug use during maternity
- lack of prenatal care
- premature birth or low birth weight
Furthermore, certain environmental factors and other problems in infancy can also cause enamel hypoplasia.
These include trauma to the teeth, infection, calcium deficiency, deficiencies of vitamin A, C, or D, jaundice, liver diseases, celiac diseases, and cerebral palsy due to maternal or fetal infection.
Symptoms of Enamel Hypoplasia
Some of the signs of this condition are obvious, however, other symptoms are difficult to diagnose and may not be noticeable until they cause any major dental problem.
Having thin enamel can lead to:
- white spots
- sensitivity to heat and cold temperature
- pits, tiny groves, depressions, and fissures
- yellowish-brown stains where the underlying layer of dentin is exposed
- lack of tooth contact, the irregular wearing of teeth
- susceptibility to acids in food and drink
- retention of harmful bacteria
- increase in vulnerability to tooth decay and cavities
How it Forms?
There are a number of factors as to how and why this condition forms.
According to the Indian Journal of Dentistry, it occurs when there is a certain type of disturbance in the matrix formation of your teeth.
To break it down further, let’s look at the ameloblasts, which are enamel-producing cells of your teeth.
It is important to note that these cells form in six stages: morphogenetic, organizing, formative, maturative, protective, and hemolytic.
Enamel hypoplasia occurs in the formation stage, thus, resulting in the pitting, grooving, over even total absence of the enable,
Other than the scientific purpose of enamel formation, this condition also occurs due to heredity and environmental factors.
This includes nutrition, diseases, premature birth, trauma, or infections.
An important thing to note is that early screening and diagnosis are crucial This is why your child should visit a dentist between the appearance of their first tooth and their first birthday.
Treatment options depend on the severity of your problem.
Moreover, the goals of your treatment are to prevent tooth decay, maintain a good bite, preserve the structure of the tooth, and keep your teeth looking their best.
However, in some cases, when there are smaller detect that are not causing any decay or sensitivity may not need treatment right away.
They still require monitoring, and your dentist will probably want to apply topical fluoride to help protect your teeth.
On the other hand, in case of sensitivity, cavities, or tooth structure showing signs of wear, the treatment may include the following options:
Dental Procedures for Enamel Hypoplasia
Let’s discuss the treatment options in case of sensitivity, cavities, or tooth structure showing wear:
Sealants are thin layers of resins that your dentist will place on the pits, fissures, and groves of the teeth to prevent any further damage.
Moreover, sealants are one of the effective methods to prevent decay on the surfaces of your teeth, and significantly reduce the overall chance of having cavities.
It also helps to improve tooth sensitivity.
Resin-based Compositive Fillings
Such fillings are made to closely match your tooth color, thus making them ideal for use on front or back teeth.
These filings are quite durable, seal the cavity, and are almost invisible with your teeth to keep them looking natural.
Dental Amalgam Fillings
One of the most durable fillings is amalgam fillings and it contains a combination of metals.
Such metals are mercury, silver, tin, and copper.
Because of their durability, amalgam fillings are one of the best choices to fill in large cavities or those that occur in the back teeth where you need to apply a lot of force to chew.
Amalgam hardens quickly, thus, making it useful in areas where it is difficult to keep your mouth dry like below the gum line.
Just like amalgam fillings, gold fillings are durable, however, do not look like your natural teeth.
Furthermore, they also tend to be one of the most expensive options for fillings.
Other Procedure Options
Some other procedure options are:
A dental crown covers your entire tooth, and your dentist can use a variety of materials to compose it.
In most cases, you will get a crown on your molars that rarely shows, except when you yawn or might have crowns on your front teeth.
However, while on front teeth, they most often are the same shade as that of your natural teeth.
This is a permanent cosmetic dentistry treatment that helps to remove discolorations from the surface of your teeth.
With the help of this procedure, your dentist can help improve the appearance of your teeth staining.
That occurs due to enamel defects that occur during tooth development or from fluorosis.
Precations in case of Mercury Amalgam Fillings
In case your dentist recommends mercury amalgam fillings, it is important to check first whether the material is suitable for you or not.
This is because the material may put you are a risk of toxicity.
Moreover, you should not have a mercury amalgam filling it you:
- are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding
- have an allergy to mercury
- have a neurological condition or kidney problems
- is under 6 years of age
There are certain cases in which a permanent tooth is so malformed that it is best to extract them.
In such a case, you might want to consult with an orthodontist first.
Tips to Keep your Teeth Healthy
With the help of the following tips, you can keep your teeth as healthy as possible:
Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush, or after meals.
In case you are experiencing cold sensitivity, risen your mouth with lukewarm water.
Moreover, keep sugary and acidic foods and drinks to a minimum and always make sure to brush and rinse thoroughly after consuming them.
it is important to see your dentist for regular check-ups and whenever you suspect a problem in your teeth or gums.
Enamel Hypoplasia vs. Hypomineralization
Enamel hypoplasia occurs when the process of mineralization is not fully achieved and results in discolored enable.
Moreover, this condition weakens your teeth, resulting in a breakdown.
According to the Australian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, hypomineralization is prevalent in a fifth of all children.
It can also appear as discolored patches of soft or decaying, bumpy enamel that often affect your molars and incisions as they grow in.
The teeth with hypomineralization are sensitive and can cause children pain while eating and these often start to deteriorate once they grow in.
On the other hand, enamel hypoplasia is a condition where your teeth have pits, grooves, and missing enamel.
It can also result in smaller teeth and appears as brown or yellow stains and exposed dentin.
While the enal is still hard, it is weak and is a type of amelogenesis imperfect, where the enamel on your teeth is missing or severely thin and prone to breaking.
If you do not get proper treatment, certain complications may arise. These include:
- cavities, crumbling teeth, or caries
- browning of an entire tooth
- need for tooth extractions
- anxiety about the appearance of your smile
Moreover, things that contribute to these complications include poor oral hygiene, eating too much sugar, and crowded teeth.
Having thin enamel means that you will need to carefully monitor the health of your teeth. Treating conditions early can help to prevent serious issues like tooth loss.
Moreover, you can manage enamel hypoplasia with regular dental check-ups and by practicing good oral hygiene.