While the tooth enamel usually forms without issue, a number of things can go wrong while it’s still in the “development” phase during childhood. From minor cosmetic effects to serious issues including teeth that do not appear at all, the consequences of disordered tooth enamel vary in seriousness, but all require treatment. Two common issues that can affect the tooth enamel include hypoplasia and hypomineralization. Dr. Charlie Parker wants parents to know about the effects of enamel disorders — learn more about these common issues below.
What Is Enamel Hypoplasia?
Enamel hypoplasia occurs when there is not enough enamel present on a tooth, usually affecting the molars and premolars. It can also occur as a completely missing tooth. Any enamel that is there is healthy, but there just isn’t a sufficient amount to support the tooth. It can affect the primary (baby) as well as the permanent teeth. If enamel hypoplasia affects the existing tooth enamel, the molar or premolar will be covered in pits and grooves, or look chalky.
What Is Hypomineralization?
Hypomineralization occurs when there are not enough minerals in a tooth to keep it strong and healthy. The tooth may look clear or translucent as a result of the condition. Teeth that are affected by hypomineralization are at a greater risk of breaking or wearing down, especially for people who grind their teeth at night.
What Causes Disorders in the Tooth Enamel?
Enamel hypoplasia may be caused by genetic disorders or from factors during pregnancy like maternal smoking, vitamin deficiency, or preterm birth. Certain diseases during childhood can also affect the way the enamel develops. Hypomineralization can be caused by otherwise helpful things like fluoride exposure from community tap water or taking antibiotics, especially tetracycline, while the tooth enamel is still developing.
What Is the Solution?
When there is not enough healthy tooth enamel present — in cases of enamel hypoplasia — Dr. Parker may recommend dental sealants to protect the tooth from being at a higher risk of tooth decay. Sealants cover up the vulnerable tooth enamel, keeping decay-causing bacteria from collecting in the pits and grooves and causing cavities. Tooth loss occurring as a result of enamel hypoplasia can be solved with dental implants or a dental bridge.
If you grind your teeth at night, it’s smart to invest in a custom-fitted mouthguard to prevent wear and tear on the weaker tooth enamel. The same goes for people who play contact sports.
For the cosmetic effects associated with hypomineralization, or white, chalky spots on the front teeth, dental bonding can provide a helpful solution. The treatment is completed in just one visit to our office. Dr. Parker applies biocompatible composite resin to the affected teeth, sculpts it into shape, and then dries the material under a special UV light.
Who’s the Dentist Near Me Treating Enamel Disorders?
Are you or your child dealing with the effects of a tooth enamel disorder? Dr. Parker can help. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with the family dentist today.