What Is Tooth-Enamel Hypoplasia: What Are Its Causes And Treatment

Enamel hypoplasia is a defect associated with incomplete formation of organic enamel, which covers the teeth. In this condition, the enamel is thin and soft, which causes it to chip off and exposing the underlying dentin. There are two basic types- hereditary and environmental, which are associated with different causes. The treatment depends upon the cause and presentation of the condition

The condition is characterized by under developed enamel on the tooth. A poor enamel of the tooth exposes the underlying dentin material of the tooth, making it prone to damage. Enamel hypoplasia is associated with certain unique features,

  • The tooth may show discolorations in the form of opacities or white spots, which are caused due to chipping off of the enamel.
    This exposes the interior of the tooth to infections, which in turn can further increase the risk of enamel damage.
  • In some cases, the front teeth may have a typical screw driver shape (also referred to as the Hutchinson’s teeth) while the molar tooth are referred to as mulberry molars and are barrel shaped.
  • In some cases, the enamel of the tooth has a brown discoloration, with pitting and irregularity of the tooth crown.
  • Tooth with enamel hypoplasia are more prone to fracture and damage.

Causes Of Enamel Hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia can be categorized into two basic types, based on the causative factors associated with the condition.

  • Hereditary type enamel hypoplasia: This condition is associated with disturbance during the embryonic development, especially in the ectoderm. The other components of embryonic development are normal. These are further classified into hypo-plastic (which means that the enamel is of poor concentration), hypo-calcification (which means that the calcium levels will be low) and hypo-maturation (which means that the tooth is poorly matured).
  • Environmental type enamel hypoplasia: This condition is associated with a host of environmental factors ( i.e. not genetic or hereditary) , which include,
    • Nutritional deficiency of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin D.
    • Skin diseases such as chickenpox, scarlet fever and measles are associated with this condition.
    • Congenital syphilis.
    • Hypocalcaemia or low levels of calcium in blood.
    • Local trauma or injury is also associated with the condition.
    • Excessive levels of fluoride in water can also result in hypo-plastic enamel.

Enamel Hypoplasia Treatment

The treatment regimen would depend upon the causative factor associated with the condition,

  • For cosmetic purpose, the tooth needs to be bleached with hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the brown color and stains. This procedure needs to be repeated frequently since the condition can recur.
  • Promptly filling in tooth caries or decayed tooth is important to prevent damage of the enamel. If the decay or damage is very extensive, tooth restoration in the form of crowns and bridges may be required.
  • Ensure that your diet is high in calcium. Limit the intake of fluoride in your diet.
  • There are certain homeopathic remedies that are considered beneficial in the management of this condition. Homeopathic drugs like Bryonia and Kreostote are considered beneficial in management of dental caries and help in preventing damage due to enamel hypoplasia.