Dental discoloration can occur for many reasons in both adult and pediatric patients. However, parents may be alarmed when they notice a tooth that is spotted with chalky white or even creamy yellow despite good oral hygiene. Enamel hypoplasia should be considered as a possible diagnosis in this case.
Enamel hypoplasia is an enamel defect that can affect primary teeth or permanent teeth. It most often affects the six-year molars, which are the first permanent molars to erupt in kids. Teeth that are affected may have white, yellow or even brown patches, and they can also be pitted and weak. If you notice these symptoms within your child’s smile, don’t ignore it.
What is Enamel Hypoplasia?
Enamel hypoplasia is a condition that affects the development of tooth enamel, which is the hard, protective outer layer of the teeth. This condition occurs when the enamel does not form properly, resulting in a thinner or incomplete layer of enamel on the teeth.
What Causes Enamel Hypoplasia in Children?
Although your tooth enamel (or outer tooth layer) represents the most highly mineralized and hardest substance in your body, it is very sensitive to developmental disturbances. Enamel formation involves a specific structural matric that can be disrupted during fetal growth or early childhood.
Here are some common causes for enamel hypoplasia:
- Mother’s health during pregnancy (illnesses, diet deficiency)
- Premature birth or birth difficulties
- Medications given to mother prior birth or to child during early childhood
- Early childhood illness (high fever, pneumonia, middle ear infection, viral infections etc.)
- Poor nutrition
- Trauma to mouth/baby teeth
How A Pediatric Dentist Can Help
Even if the enamel defect is unnoticeable in the back area of the mouth, it is important to realize that it is not as structurally strong as the other teeth. Your enamel is a vital shield of protection for your teeth.
If you have a child with enamel hypoplasia, your child may be self-conscious when smiling, and suffer from sensitive and cavity-prone teeth. To avoid these disruptive symptoms and costly dental repairs in the future, our dentists can treat enamel hypoplasia. This can involve fluoride treatments, composite fillings, crowns or even cosmetic treatments to improve the appearance of this enamel defect. Call Marietta Dental Professional today to learn more about our pediatric dental services near you.