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Enamel Hypoplasia: What Is It And How Does It Affect Your Kids?

If the dentist diagnoses your children with enamel hypoplasia, you may wonder if there's anything the dentist can do for them. Your dentist can offer age appropriate treatments to your kids. If your kids haven't received their adult teeth yet, the dentist will monitor your children's teeth until they're old enough for more advanced dental care, such as dental crowns. To help you understand more about enamel hypoplasia and your children's treatment options, here's what you need to know.

What's Enamel Hypoplasia?

Enamel hypoplasia describes discolored and pitted tooth enamel that develops in children under the age of three. The condition makes tooth enamel appear thin and weak. In severe cases of hypoplasia, the enamel becomes thin enough to reveal the tissues lying beneath it.

Enamel hypoplasia usually occurs in molars but can show up in any tooth. The condition starts off as a small, white spot that forms at the gumline. The spot mimics the appearance of a cavity, so you may think that your kids have tooth decay when they actually don't. Once the spot spreads to other areas of the enamel and affects the dentin, your kids may experience pain and sensitivity when they eat or drink hot, cold or spicy foods. 

What Causes Enamel Hypoplasia?

A number of things cause enamel hypoplasia, including ingesting large amounts of water containing fluoride or swallowing fluoride toothpaste. Children who don't get enough vitamin D in their diet may develop hypoplasia. Vitamin D is needed for the development of healthy jawbones and teeth enamel. It's possible for the jawbones to store or hoard vitamin D and not share it with the teeth sitting inside them.

In addition, your family may have a family history of the condition that seemingly skipped you but affected your children instead. In this case, you may have enamel hypoplasia and not know it, especially if it developed in the molars placed in the very back of your mouth.

What Can Your Dentist Do for Your Kids?

Treatment for enamel hypoplasia is normally based on the patients' ages. For instance, if your kids still have their baby teeth, the dentist will most likely monitor their condition until they turn 7 or 8 years of age, or when they start losing their baby teeth. Once your kids get their adult teeth, the dentist can place dental crowns over the teeth that have enamel hypoplasia.

Until your kids are old enough for dental crowns, you can make them feel more comfortable at home by serving milk, water and unsweetened beverages with their meals. Also, avoid giving your kids spicy foods, which can irritate their damaged teeth.

If you have concerns about enamel hypoplasia or general dentistry questions, contact your general dentist and schedule an appointment.