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5 Things to Know About Dental Hypoplasia in Kids

We know you want your kids to have the healthiest teeth possible. But even with the best oral hygiene routine and nutritious food, an issue like dental hypoplasia can weaken their teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and tooth decay. In fact, one study found that teeth with enamel issues like hypoplasia are three times more likely to have cavities than teeth without enamel concerns.

But what is dental hypoplasia? 

Simply put, it’s when your children’s tooth enamel is hard but too thin and can’t provide the best protection for the softer dentin underneath. Hyperplasia on teeth can happen to individual teeth, in certain spots on individual teeth, or less common, on all teeth. Sometimes hypoplasia can be confused with hypocalcified teeth, which is not thin enamel but soft and opaque enamel. 

Rest assured, treatment is possible for hypoplastic teeth. But before we get to these, let’s cover 5 things to know about this condition.

  1. Dental hypoplasia can be easy to spot

Hypoplastic teeth are easy to spot by your experienced pediatric dentist at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry. And once we see and diagnose it, we can get right to treating and strengthening your child’s teeth. At home, keep an eye out for the symptoms below, and if you notice any, make an appointment to come into our Naperville office as soon as possible.

  • Teeth that look yellow or brown (the dentin underneath enamel is a yellowish color)
  • White spots on teeth
  • Dips, grooves or striations on the surface of teeth
  • A lot of tooth decay or cavities
  • Misshapen or worn-down teeth

If your child has thin enamel, you might also notice that their teeth stain easily from colorful foods or they complain of sensitivity to cold foods and drinks.

  1. Hypoplastic teeth typically comes from early environmental factors

Dental hypoplasia happens when enamel cells are disrupted during a critical stage in their development. In baby teeth, disruptions can happen when a child is still in utero or after birth. Disruptions that happen later — from infancy through early childhood — can cause dental hypoplasia in adult teeth that have started erupting and developing.

Factors that can increase the likelihood of hypoplasia include:

  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Gestational diabetes in the mother 
  • Viral and bacterial infections like syphilis passed from mother to child during pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Ingesting too much fluoride
  • Inflammation or dental trauma
  1. Dental hypoplasia can happen at different times 

Enamel on a child’s front baby teeth is usually fully formed by five years old while enamel on their molars isn’t fully developed until about age eight. Plus, adult teeth start erupting around age six. This means that hypoplasia can happen on different teeth at different times.

  1. Treatment for dental hypoplasia depends on severity

The goal of any treatment for hypoplasia is to strengthen your child’s teeth, restore enamel, and maintain a healthier, stronger bite. The type of treatment your Naperville pediatric dentist will recommend depends on the severity of your child’s dental hypoplasia. These include:

Remineralization: Fluoride treatment is often the first line of defense for thin enamel, helping strengthen enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity.

Dental sealants: Painting on a dental sealant is like creating a force field around your child’s teeth for extra protection against tooth decay. Dental sealants are a BPA-free plastic coating that takes a quick 15 minutes to apply and can protect teeth for up to 10 years. 

Fillings: If your child has a hypoplastic tooth and a cavity has formed, we use tooth-colored fillings at Innovative Pediatric Dentistry to fill them and prevent further decay. These fillings blend into your child’s tooth color and help support the structural strength of their tooth.

Dental Crowns: For severe hypoplasia, we might suggest a dental crown to protect a tooth and restore its shape and function. It’s possible to place crowns on both baby and adult teeth, although for molars, we generally wait to place a crown on permanent molars.

  1. Teeth with hypoplasia need extra care even after treatment

If your child has dental dysplasia, we’re happy to provide tips for better at-home oral care and nutrition for teeth. We can also recommend a desensitizing toothpaste that, with regular use, helps alleviate sensitivity. 

And don’t forget to come see us for twice-annual check ups so we can keep tabs on your child’s dental health, catch issues before they become serious, and apply those preventative fluoride treatments and dental sealants mentioned earlier.

Your Naperville pediatric dentist for stronger, healthier teeth

At Innovative Pediatric Dentistry, we want your kids to enjoy healthy, happy smiles. If you’re concerned your child might have dental dysplasia, our doctors are here to help with comprehensive, kid-friendly care. 

Contact us to make an appointment at our fun, bright, and happy Naperville office.