There are a number of issues that can present themselves as the tooth enamel develops. Primary (baby) teeth are softer than your own, and even that second set of permanent teeth won’t fully harden for a couple years after they show up. The occurrence of enamel hypoplasia or hypomineralization is not unusual during these stages — and each condition requires special care. If you are worried your child is experiencing abnormal enamel development, learn what that means and how we treat it at Family Dental Practice of Bloomfield. We’re the “dentist near me,” (well, you) working on the case!
What Is Enamel Hypoplasia?
Enamel hypoplasia (EH) occurs when the tooth enamel that surrounds the tooth — the outermost layer — isn’t all there. The enamel that is present is healthy, there’s just not enough of it to support the tooth. EH can also cause a tooth to be missing altogether, or can show up as a tooth with a pitted and grooved surface. Because it is easier for acids and bacteria to collect on irregular surfaces, children who have EH are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay.
What Is Hypomineralization?
Hypomineralization occurs when there are not enough minerals for strong tooth enamel. The condition can cause the tooth to look clear or translucent, and it increases the risk of tooth decay, breaking, and wearing down. Wear and tear of the teeth is especially likely if the child grinds their teeth at night.
What Causes EH and Hypomineralization?
The cause of these conditions isn’t exactly clear, but they often occur as a result of prenatal factors like smoking, nutrient deficiency, and preterm birth. Certain infections during childhood can also cause issues with the development of the tooth enamel, as can taking tetracycline. Hypomineralization can also show up as white spots on the front teeth due to excessive fluoride exposure, usually through tap water. Consult your dentist to find out how much fluoride is appropriate for your child.
How Are They Treated?
Your dentist in Bloomfield can protect soft tooth enamel from tooth decay through the application of dental sealants. These thin plastic coverings shield the back teeth, which are commonly affected by enamel hypoplasia, from the acids and bacteria that cause cavities. Applied quickly and painlessly at the end of a checkup and cleaning, dental sealants provide significant protection against tooth decay. White, chalky spots on the surface of the teeth caused by too much fluoride exposure can be erased with cosmetic bonding.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is as important for a child with enamel hypoplasia and hypomineralization as it is for your own teeth. Help your little one by scheduling two checkups and cleanings at the dentist annually, and encouraging them to brush and floss regularly. Try to reduce sugar consumption and encourage a balanced, nutritious diet.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Are you concerned about the development of your child’s tooth enamel? Your family dentist in Bloomfield can guide your little one’s dental development to protect their tooth enamel from decay and injury. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!