I had never heard of enamel hypoplasia until two years ago. It took a new dentist to diagnose me correctly. However, I didn’t start treatment because I knew I would relocate in two months. Now that I must find a new dentist, I would like to know my options before choosing one. Is composite bonding the best option to make my teeth a uniform color? – Thanks. Oaklynn
A skilled cosmetic dentist can examine and x-ray your teeth to determine treatment options for the discoloration.
What Is Enamel Hypoplasia?
Enamel hypoplasia is a defect where the enamel of the teeth hasn’t fully formed. This condition can stem from a genetic defect or be caused by disease during the teeth’s formation period. Tooth formation primarily occurs from before birth through about twelve years of age.
What Are Enamel Hypoplasia Signs?
Severe hypoplasia results in thin, often pitted enamel and may have areas where the dentin is exposed, making a tooth look spotted. This severity can lead to deep ridges in the enamel and a brownish color. Teeth may have horizontal ridges, thin enamel, and, in some places, the complete absence of enamel. The adjacent teeth might be less affected, displaying white spots and some pitting.
On the other hand, mild hypoplasia might only involve mild white spots on the teeth. An example is a large white spot on one central incisor among the six upper front teeth.
What Is the Treatment for Tooth Enamel Hypoplasia?
Treatment options for discolored tooth enamel caused by enamel hypoplasia are available for severe and mild to moderate cases.
Severe Enamel Hypoplasia Treatment
For severe cases, treatment typically requires porcelain veneers on the fronts of the affected teeth. If the lingual surfaces (inside surfaces) of any teeth are severely impacted, as seen on the front two teeth, it may even necessitate full crowns on those teeth.
Mild to Moderate Enamel Hypoplasia Treatment
In cases of mild hypoplasia, direct composite bonding of the affected tooth is recommended. The dentist would remove the very surface of the white spot and replace it with a high-gloss composite. Tiny spots on other teeth could either be left as is or treated with small spots of composite, depending on the patient’s concern about the appearance.
Consult an Advanced Cosmetic Dentist
For either condition, consulting an expert cosmetic dentist is advisable. Even for bonding a single tooth, most general family dentists might only have general-purpose composites, which do not offer the high-gloss, translucent finish needed for natural-looking results. A cosmetic dentist may recommend multiple treatments, such as teeth whitening, dental bonding, or porcelain veneers, for the most aesthetic results.
Metairie, Louisiana, cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune sponsors this post.