What Causes Pitted and Defective Enamel?

Enamel is the outer surface of your teeth. It is the hardest material in the human body and is responsible for protecting the soft, pulpy dentin that forms this inside of the tooth. As hard as it is, enamel is not impervious to damage and erosion. It does not contain living cells and therefore cannot repair itself or restore its essence naturally. If your teeth have become pitted it is imperative that you visit your dentist as soon as possible. There are treatments available to restore the natural look and function of your smile!

What Are the Symptoms of Pitted Teeth?

There are several noticeable visual signs of damage to your enamel. White spots, and noticeable pits or grooves on the outer surface of your teeth is a sure sign that your enamel is damaged. Sometimes the surface of the teeth will appear yellow or brown. This is a sure sign that the enamel layer has thinned in spots or degraded completely so that the soft inner portion of the tooth is now visible.

Other more dangerous symptoms include lack of tooth-contact (when your teeth no longer fit together while biting or chewing), sensitivity to sugary or sweet foods, and sensitivity to heat or cold.

Causes of Defective Enamel

Enamel development can be affected by a number of genetic or hereditary conditions. Congenital enamel hypoplasia, also known as amelogenesis imperfecta, affects an estimated 1 in 14,000 people in the United States. It is a condition that results in exceptionally small teeth and a number of other dental complications. Congenital enamel hypoplasia can exist on its own or as a part of a larger syndrome that affects other systems in the body.

Other hereditary syndromes that can cause congenital enamel hypoplasia include:

* Usher syndrome
* Seckel syndrome
* Ellis van Creveld syndrome
* Treacher Collins syndrome
* Otodental syndrome
* Heimler syndrome

Other prenatal complications can cause enamel hypoplasia:

* Lack of prenatal care
* Low birth weight or premature birth
* Maternal vitamin D deficiency
* Maternal smoking or drug use
* Maternal weight gain

Problems during infancy or environmental factors that may cause enamel hypoplasia include:

* Trauma to the face or mouth
* Vitamin deficiency
* Infection
* Jaundice
* Celiac disease
* Cerebral palsy due to maternal or fetal infection

Complications From Defective Enamel

Proper care of your teeth is imperative if you know you suffer from defective enamel. Without proper daily hygiene and regular check ups and cleanings from your dental professional, small pits can quickly turn into something much larger and more painful.

Pitting can cause discoloration when the enamel wears so thin that the dentin inside the tooth is now visible. In severe cases the entire tooth may turn yellow or brown. This can cause someone who is anxious about their appearance significant mental anguish.

But more than cosmetically, pitting can lead to fractures and cavities. Without the hard shell protecting the tooth, the soft inner tissues are exposed to bacteria which can quickly infect down to the roots of the tooth. In severe cases, the affected teeth may need to be extracted.

Make sure to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for monitoring and cleanings.

What Does Enamel Hypoplasia Look Like