What does Enamel Hypoplasia look like?

Enamel is the hard, protective, outside layer of the tooth. It keeps your teeth healthy and strong. Do you see any discolorations or defects in yours or your child’s teeth? You might be noticing enamel hypoplasia. This is a condition that causes a lesser quantity of enamel. It can be visible as a white spot, pits, yellow to brown staining, grooves or even thin, chipped, or missing parts of enamel.

Problems From Having Enamel Hypoplasia

Because of these irregularities in the enamel, hypoplastic teeth can have the following dental problems:

* More sensitive to heat or cold or pain
* More prone to wearing down from grinding or tooth to tooth contact.
* More susceptible to an acid attack from the sugars in our foods and drinks.
* More susceptible to trapping plaque and bacteria.
* More prone to tooth decay.

If you see a concerning area, then its best to schedule an appointment with your dentist. It is important to evaluate and monitor these teeth.

Treatments For Enamel Hypoplasia

There are also many different treatment options if depending on the severity of the hypoplasia. Options include protective sealants, desensitizing agents like Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), dental bonding, composite resin or “tooth-colored” fillings, full dental crowns, or micro abrasion. If left untreated, cavities can form and lead to pain or infections.

The Causes of Enamel Hypoplasia

There are a variety of causes of enamel hypoplasia from genetics to environmental factors. This list includes:

* Inherited developmental conditions.
* Vitamin deficiencies.
* Maternal illness.
* Medications given to mother prior to birth or to the child during early childhood.
* Preterm birth.
* Low birthweight.
* Trauma to the teeth.
* Infection.
* Malnutrition.
* Systemic diseases.
* Smoking or drug abuse.

Good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are important for everyone, especially those with hypoplastic teeth. Your dentist will recommend brushing twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and to also maintain a diet low in sugar. Compliment your efforts with a visit to your dentist every six months for a checkup, professional cleaning, and a fluoride application.

What Are the Signs of Enamel Erosion?

The signs of enamel erosion can vary, depending on the stage. Some signs may include:

* Sensitivity- Certain foods, sweets, and temperatures of foods, hot and cold, may cause a twinge of pain in the early stage of enamel erosion.
* Discoloration- As the enamel erodes and more dentin is exposed, the teeth will appear yellow.
* Cracks and chips- The edges of the teeth can become more rough, irregular, and jagged.
* Smooth, shiny surfaces on the teeth- A sign of mineral loss.
* Severe, painful sensitivity- In the later stages of enamel erosion, the teeth become extremely sensitive to temperatures and sweets.
* Cupping- Indentations appear on the surface of the teeth where you bite and chew.

When the enamel erodes, the tooth is far more susceptible to cavities or tooth decay. When the tooth decay attacks the hard enamel, it can enter the main body of the tooth.

Smaller cavities may cause no problems at first. But as this small cavity grows and penetrates the tooth, they can affect the nerves, resulting in an infection or an extremely painful abscess.

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