Your tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body. It protects the nerves, tissue, and overall structure of your teeth. Still, tooth enamel is prone to erosion and deterioration, and once enamel is lost, this outer layer of your teeth is nearly impossible to restore.
Any person can suffer tooth enamel loss, either through certain medical conditions like diabetes, by having poor oral hygiene, by genetics, or even by eating and drinking acidic foods and beverages. A more serious cause of enamel loss is a condition called enamel hypoplasia.
Read on to learn what this dental problem is, how to identify if you have this condition, and what your dentist can do about your oral health.
What Is Enamel Hypoplasia?
Enamel hypoplasia is a medical condition that affects both baby and permanent teeth where your teeth are defective in the way the enamel forms. For example, you can have hypoplasia where the enamel forms weakly and leaves individual teeth with rivets, dips, lines, and cracks. In some cases, the crown or top of the tooth is left unfinished, leaving a weaker tooth structure behind.
Another way the condition can affect the way tooth enamel forms is hypomineralization. This is dental issue where weakened enamel is the end result of lacking minerals during the tooth-development process.
Enamel hypoplasia is known to be genetic and may be caused by premature birth, a mother who smoked during pregnancy, and other environmental factors. A single tooth can be affected, or the entire mouth can be harmed by enamel hypoplasia.
Do You Have Enamel Hypoplasia?
If you have enamel hypoplasia, the condition has likely affected you since childhood. One or more teeth may be discolored due to weakened or thinning enamel spots, and these teeth may appear almost translucent at the crown. Or your teeth may have pits near the roots, bumpy ridges you can feel with your tongue, or an uneven crown that looks chipped and jagged.
Since enamel protects the tender parts of your tooth, you'll likely feel tooth sensitivity in the areas that have defects when eating or drinking very hot or cold foods and beverages. You may also get frequent cavities and show other signs of dental decay.
What Can You Do About Enamel Hypoplasia?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this dental condition, and once tooth enamel is lost, it's very difficult to regain or restore the enamel to healthier condition. Genetic versions of this disease are even harder to treat than environmental counterparts. Your best defense against tooth erosion due to enamel hypoplasia is to see your dentist on a regular basis for continued monitoring and care of your teeth.
Your dentist will recommend special toothpastes that work to restore and preserve tooth enamel so you can care for your teeth at home. Remineralization, or the process of replacing lost minerals needed to keep teeth strong, can be done at home by taking vitamins A and D, a calcium supplement, probiotics, and by keeping up on brushing and flossing.
To protect your teeth, your dentist will put crowns on pitted molars or other affected teeth or may fill ridges and small pitting with bonding materials. For very bad dental enamel loss, your dentist may recommend veneers or sealants to help keep your smile healthy.
If your enamel hypoplasia is causing your teeth to be discolored, you can get teeth whitening done after you have completed other repairing dental treatments. But you should never perform teeth whitening at home because you could risk damaging your tooth enamel even more.
If you have enamel hypoplasia, see your dentist right away. Our dental professionals will care for your dental condition with a custom treatment plan to restore your smile. Make an appointment with our staff at Family Dental Center today.