What Causes Pitted and Defective Enamel?

Enamel is the extremely hard, protective outer layer of your teeth. Enamel hypoplasia is a defect of the enamel that can occur during the development of the teeth. It can affect both baby teeth and permanent teeth. The condition results in thinner enamel than normal, which makes these teeth more vulnerable for dental decay.

The signs of enamel hypoplasia include pits, grooves, and white spots on the outer surface of the teeth.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it does not contain living cells and cannot repair itself or improve by itself. If you or your child has enamel hypoplasia, you will need to have your dentist monitor your teeth and repair problem areas when identified.

What are The Symptoms?

Some of the signs of enamel hypoplasia can be visually obvious, while others are more difficult to detect and might not be noticeable until they have caused major problems. The signs of thin tooth enamel can be:

* Pits, groves, depressions, and fissures.
* White spots.
* Yellowish-brown stains, where the underlying layer of dentin is now exposed.
* Increased sensitivity to hot and cold.
* The lack of tooth contact, irregular wearing of teeth.
* More susceptible to acids in food and drink.
* Increased retention of harmful bacteria.
* Increased vulnerability to decay and cavities.

What Causes Defective Enamel?

Defective enamel development can be the result of an inherited condition called congenital enamel hypoplasia, which is estimated to affect about 1 in 14,000 people. This condition can also cause unusually small teeth and a variety of other dental problems. Congenital enamel hypoplasia can happen on its own or as part of a syndrome affecting other areas of the body.

Enamel hypoplasia can also result from these prenatal issues:
* Maternal vitamin D deficiency.
* Maternal weight gain.
* Maternal smoking.
* Maternal drug use.
* Lack of prenatal care.
* Premature birth or low birth weight.

Environmental factors and other problems in infancy that can cause enamel hypoplasia such as:
* Trauma to the teeth.
* An infection.
* A calcium deficiency.
* Deficiencies of vitamins A, C, or D.
* Jaundice or liver disease.
* Celiac disease.
* Cerebral palsy due to a maternal or fetal infection.

How Is It Treated?

Early screening and diagnosis for defective enamel are crucial. Therefore, your child should see your dentist around their first birthday.
The treatment depends on the severity of the problem. The goals of the treatment are to:

* Prevent tooth decay.
* To maintain a good bite.
* To preserve tooth structure.
* To keep the teeth looking their best.

The smaller defects that are not causing decay or sensitivity will not need treatment right away but require monitoring. Your dentist will apply topical fluoride to help protect teeth.

With sensitivity, cavities, or serious defective enamel, treatment options include:
* Resin-bonded sealant- This will improve tooth sensitivity.
* Resin-based composite fillings- These can be made to match tooth color, which makes them ideal for use on front or back teeth. They are quite durable.
* Dental amalgam fillings- These are made from a combination of durable metals. Due to the silver color, they are not used on the front teeth.
* Gold fillings- Like dental amalgam fillings, gold fillings are durable but do not look natural. They are also more expensive.
* Crowns- These completely cover the tooth.
* Enamel micro abrasion- This is a minimally invasive procedure to improve the appearance of the teeth.


What does Enamel Hypoplasia look like