Enamel Hypoplasia is a condition where teeth have less enamel (the outer, white part of the tooth) than they should. This condition is common in both baby and permanent teeth.  It typically appears as white or yellow spots on a single tooth or several teeth and can vary in severity.  Enamel Hypoplasia in baby teeth is most common on the very back molars or the cuspids (the corner teeth).  In permanent teeth the first permanent molars and front teeth are most often affected.

Causes:

  • Infection/fever during pregnancy
  • Premature birth/intubation
  • Vitamin A, C, D deficiencies
  • Malnourishment
  • Hereditary disorders
  • Some medications taken during pregnancy (example: Tetracycline)
  • Infections at birth causing high fever (examples: measles, chickenpox)
  • Physical trauma to developing teeth
  • Fluorosis (excess exposure to fluoride)
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals at a young age

Treatment:

Treatment for teeth with Enamel Hypoplasia varies depending on severity and can be a challenge.

  1. Mild cases and some moderate cases can be managed with sealing/bonding/bleaching.
  2. Many severe cases may require placement of full coverage crowns to protect from wear, sensitivity and/or cavitites.
  3. In the most severe cases, extraction may be the only option.

Discuss the severity of Enamel Hypoplasia with your child’s dentist.  We will help determine the best treatment plan for your child.  Fortunately, many mild cases can be managed with preventive care, including dental sealants and excellent oral hygiene!

Dr. Poonam Shah