Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

Managing Enamel Hypoplasia In Prematurely Born Children

by Brett Clark

Infants who are born significantly before their birth date are vulnerable to enamel hypoplasia, a birth defect where the tooth enamel is either much thinner than usual and/or has significant holes (according to some studies, hypoplasia gives the children 9.6 times the chance of enamel holes or lesions on the teeth before the age of 3). This leaves the teeth extremely vulnerable to staining and decay. For many children, this can also be a source of embarrassment, having visibly stained or decayed teeth. Having a treatment plan with a cosmetic dentist can help children fit in socially and maintain confidence.

Here are the aspects usually covered in a dental treatment plan.

Cosmetic dentistry

To cover the immediate affects of the staining and pitting, dentists will fit the children with composite veneers. Composite veneers are a better option than porcelain veneers, given the expected lifespan on the juvenile teeth (approximately 6-8 years), which is much lower than the lifespan of porcelain veneers, and the costs of composite veneers are much lower than porcelain. The veneers cover the damaged enamel and present a smooth, evenly-shaped and evenly-coloured tooth so that the child can smile without embarrassment.

Hygiene plan

As the teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay, the child usually gets a specific hygiene plan through their dentist. This often involves brushing and flossing more often (after each meal rather than twice a day) and more regular check-ups and cleaning at the dentist. In addition to holes, the enamel in hypolastic teeth is usually more porous than standard enamel, making quick removal of plaque, food remnants and bacteria vital to maintaining dental health.

X-rays and preventive care

In addition to regular check-ups, children with enamel hypoplasia will often require filling of small holes and carries on the internal side of the teeth. In order to find decay before it becomes visible on the surface of the tooth, the dentist will often perform regular x-rays on the child's teeth. While there are minor risks of performing x-rays on growing children, the dentist will weigh these risks against the risks associated with allowing paediatric dental decay to proceed.

Enamel hypoplasia associated with prematurity may just occur on the baby teeth or may carry through to the adult teeth. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing ahead whether the adult teeth will be affected and no way of preventing this damage. Creating a treatment plan with a dentist will prevent your child suffering undue embarrassment or pain due to enamel hypoplasia decay.

For more information, contact a business such as Wallsend Dental Surgery.