Enamel hypoplasia is a developmental defect of enamel that occurs due to disturbance during the tooth developmental process. This condition can affect both primary and permanent tooth.
While hypomineralization is a condition where there is a decrease of mineral content in the teeth enamel. The enamel hypoplasia is identified visually by white spots, pits, and grooves or missing parts on the surface of the teeth.
Hypomineralisation of enamel is identified as naturally thinner enamel layers on newly developed teeth, or it can be present as a disintegration of the tooth enamel after the teeth eruption. (1)
Teeth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and it does not contain any living cells. After tooth eruption, all the enamel-forming cells degenerate.
So, if you have any enamel defects, you need to take help from your dentist as enamel can’t repair on its own. (2)
Signs and symptoms
Some sings of enamel hypoplasia and hypomineralization are apparent, while others are left unrecognized unless they cause a serious dental problem. The sign and symptoms that are seen due to thinning of enamel are –
- White lesions.
- Sensitivity to heat and cold.
- The occurrence of pits, tiny groves, depressions, and fissures on the surface of your teeth.
- Increased vulnerability to tooth decay and cavities.
- Yellowish or brown stains appear on the surface of the tooth.
- The Yellow color of dentine is exposed as enamel is very thin.
- Susceptibility to acids in food and drink.
Causes of enamel hypoplasia and hypomineralization
Enamel hypoplasia occurs due to injury to enamel-forming cells during the development of the tooth. The damage to enamel-forming cells can occur due to several factors like –
- Nutritional deficiency, mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
- Hypocalcemia in mother during pregnancy.
- Birth injury, prematurity, RH hemolytic disease.
- Local infection or trauma.
- Ingestion of chemicals.
- Congenital syphilis.
- Diseases like measles, chicken pox or scarlet fever.
Abnormalities of enamel and dentine are caused by a variety of interacting factors ranging from genetic defects to environmental disturbances.
Developmental enamel defects may appear as enamel hypoplasia or hypomineralization. The primary goals of managing developmental abnormalities of enamel and dentine are early diagnosis and improvement of appearance and function by preserving the dentition and preventing severe complications.
The dentist will examine your teeth, and will also ask for your family history regarding genetic enamel hypoplasia.
The dentist will diagnose your condition as enamel hypoplasia or hypomineralisation of enamel if there is a sign like the presence of pits, tiny groves, depressions, and fissures on the surface of teeth which indicates thinning of enamel. (3)
People with enamel hypoplasia or hypomineralization may suffer from the same cosmetic conditions, tooth sensitivity and increased risk for decay. Early screening and diagnosis are essential to treat enamel developmental defects.
The treatment aims for the preservation of the tooth, prevention from tooth decay and improving the appearance of the teeth. Your dentist may apply topical fluoride to help strengthen the teeth. The treatment options involve –
- Removal of demineralized enamel and restoring it with composite.
- Resin-bonded sealants can help improving tooth sensitivity.
- Dental amalgam fillings are prepared from a combination of various durable metals and mostly used for posterior teeth (teeth present at the back). (4)
- Enamel microabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure to improve the appearance of the teeth. (5)
- Professional dental whitening.
- A dental crown may be required to cover the entire surface of the tooth.
Home care remedies
Homecare is a must to prevent the teeth from enamel defects and improve the health of the teeth. Children need great oral hygiene to keep enamel hypoplasia under control later.
With great toothpaste, toothbrushes, and rinses, this shouldn’t be a problem. Here are a few tips that you can easily follow at home to keeping your teeth healthy and clean as possible –
- Brush at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- If sensitivity with cold is a problem, then rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods and beverages, and always brush and rinse thoroughly after meals.
- Use fluoride toothpaste.
- See your dentist for regular check-ups.
Most people who suffer from the advanced enamel hypoplasia or less severe hypomineralization are affected by various dental conditions due to genetic inheritance, lack of nutrition or specific minerals like fluoride at some stages in the development of dental structures.
Adding supplements containing Vitamin A or D to your diet can help to strengthen the developing teeth. Consumption of Green, leafy vegetables and increased intake of milk can also help to provide vital nutrients to developing teeth.
Having thin enamel fairly indicates that you’ll always need to manage the health of your teeth carefully. Diagnosing and treating problems early can help in the prevention of more pressing issues such as tooth loss.
Enamel hypoplasia and hypomineralisation can be managed with regular dental check-ups and by practicing good oral hygiene.