Enamel hypoplasia or hypoplastic teeth is when your enamel forms incorrectly while teeth develop. This condition can affect baby teeth and permanent teeth. It makes the enamel thin, making your teeth prone to tooth decay and other dental diseases.
Tooth enamel is a hard tissue of the body on the teeth. It is the hardest element in the body, consisting of an organized structure of calcium phosphate crystals. Enamel can last decades without wearing, but it is not indestructible.
Enamel can withstand harsh conditions in the mouth, such as extreme temperatures, acidic foods, and force from biting and chewing. With excessive exposure, the enamel can erode, growing weaker and exposing the other layers.
It will lead to a series of complications which you will learn about in this post. You will also find out if you can treat enamel hypoplasia. But first, what causes hypoplastic teeth?
Cause of Hypoplasia
Hypoplasia occurs due to defective enamel development. It could result from an inherited condition known as congenital enamel hypoplasia. This condition affects 1 in 14,000 people, and it can cause small teeth with alot of dental problems.
Congenital enamel hypoplasia can occur alone or as a symptom of another disease. Hereditary diseases can also cause enamel hypoplasia, including:
- Treacher Collins syndrome
- Heimler syndrome
- Velocardiofacial syndrome
- Usher syndrome
- Ellis-van Creveld syndrome
- Seckel syndrome
- Otodental syndrome
Similarly, some prenatal issues can also cause hypoplastic teeth. They include:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Multiple births
- Smoking during pregnancy
- Delayed prenatal care
- Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy
Other diseases and conditions that cause hypoplasia are:
- Kidney and liver diseases
- Poor nutrition
- Bacterial infections
- Celiac diseases
- Trauma to the teeth
- Maternal or fetal infection-causing cerebral palsy
- Side effects to chemical and drug exposure
Symptoms Of Hypoplastic Teeth
Some hypoplasia symptoms can be obvious, but others are difficult to read. They are only noticeable when they cause major dental problems. Therefore, you must remain diligent in checking for symptoms which include:
- White spots on the surface of the teeth
- Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
- Staining on the surface of the teeth
- Irregular tooth wearing
- Small grooves on the teeth
- Pits, depressions, and fissures on the teeth
- Retention of harmful bacteria and plaque
- More cavities
Complications Of Hypoplasia
Unfortunately, hypoplasia does not come without consequences. Some of the complications patients develop without proper treatment include:
- Cavities. Enamel is the tough outermost covering of the tooth that protects it. Enamel hypoplasia reduces the thickness of the enamel, exposing the inner layers which have nerves and are more prone to cracking. When this happens, bacteria can easily penetrate through the cracks and fissures. When this happens, the tooth becomes infected, and you develop symptoms of cavities, including bad breath, pain, discharge, and tenderness. This could eventually lead to tooth extraction.
- Discoloration. With the enamel eroded, your teeth become more susceptible to staining. Therefore you will notice yellowing or browning of the affected teeth.
- Difficulty removing plaque. Similarly, you will have trouble with removing plaque from your teeth. This puts your teeth at risk of tooth decay and cavities.
- Sensitivity. And finally, thinner enamel means exposure to the inner layers. The inner layers hold the nerves, and exposure to extreme temperatures makes patients experience discomfort.
Does Enamel Hypoplasia Need Treatment?
Early screening helps with diagnosis and treatment. For this reason, you should take your child to the dentist after the appearance of their first tooth. Additionally, you should see a specialist if you develop any symptoms.
The treatment of enamel hypoplasia depends on the severity of the problem. However, the goal of the treatment is to maintain a good bite. And keep teeth looking their best. Treatment is also important for preventing tooth decay and preserving tooth structure.
It is important to note that the smaller defects may not require treatment right away. However, some of the treatments for cases with sensitivity and cavities include:
You can get many fillings to fill the cracks and fissures on your teeth’ surface. A resin-based composite filling can closely match tooth color, making them ideal for front and back teeth. They are durable and preferred by many.
Gold fillings are durable and a little more expensive. But if you like the look, then this will work well. Amalgam fillings are equally durable but silver in color. Your dentist should lay out all the options and lead you to the ideal filling for your situation.
Dental sealants can improve tooth sensitivity. They are a thin coating that the dentist paints on the surface of your teeth, specifically the back teeth.
Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces from sensitivity in hot and cold temperatures by covering them with a protective shield. Additionally, it helps to block out germs and, to some extent, bacterial penetration.
This protective shield is ideal for people with eroded enamel, causing sensitivity.
If your teeth have started to discolor, you could benefit from dental whitening. Tooth whitening or bleaching is common even for people without hypoplasia. This is because everyone wants a beautiful and perfect smile.
It will boost confidence and make your teeth more attractive. Thus, the market is flooded with many tooth-whitening kits and instructions to DIY at home.
However, you should go for dental whitening after consulting with your dentist. These over-the-counter kits and gels could contain harsh chemicals that affect your teeth. Your enamel could erode further and bring more problems.
Therefore, you must go for a dental whitening procedure. Your dentist knows the safest methods to use.
And finally, dental crowns are caps that go on top of damaged teeth. If your teeth are cracked or broken due to hypoplasia, your dentist will recommend getting a crown. The crown will cover the tooth, protecting it from sensitivity, acidy, and external threats.
Additionally, it can restore the shape of your tooth. Dental crowns are ideal for patients who require more than fillings to cover up cavities. Depending on your needs, they can be metal, porcelain, ceramic, or resin. It is advisable to consult your practitioner to ensure you get the right crown.