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How Little Holes Start in Your Enamel
Posted on 10/5/2020 by Aron Geelan, DMD
Enamel is a hard material that covers the crowns of teeth and protects them from damage. Enamel is hard and translucent, and it can be fortified by fluoridated water and fluoride treatments. However, enamel can be damaged and eroded. One possible result of enamel damage is holes – known as pits – forming on teeth. This oral health disorder is called enamel hypoplasia, and it is irreversible once it manifests. Learning more about it, however, can help our patients understand, prevent, and react properly to enamel hypoplasia.
The Cause of Enamel Hypoplasia
The enamel on our teeth is roughly 90% mineral. This composition makes enamel vulnerable to acid, which will erode it. Acidic foods, acidic drinks, and waste products form harmful bacteria damage the enamel. Aggravating an acidic mouth further – such as brushing immediately after a meal – does more damage to the already-vulnerable enamel. The pits on the teeth are where enamel loss is at its greatest. Certain hereditary issues – such as Seckel syndrome and Usher syndrome – increase the likelihood of a patient developing enamel hypoplasia. Poor prenatal care can increase the chances of a child's milk teeth having enamel hypoplasia. External factors – including injuries and jaundice – can also lead to enamel hypoplasia.
Treatment for Enamel Hypoplasia
Damage to enamel is permanent, so a patient's body can't naturally heal a pit. Children with pits on their milk teeth will need to have their teeth monitored until their permanent teeth replace the milk teeth. Patients with permanent teeth will need to consider dental devices as solutions. Fillings are effective against cavities and similar holes in or near the top of the tooth. Crowns cover the entire tooth and protect it from further damage. When the pits cause severe damage to a tooth, the tooth will need to be extracted. Tooth replacements include dental implants and dentures. If you notice pits in your teeth, contact our office for a dental exam and for treatment.