Parents might not quite think of their children as perfect, but many will certainly become protective if someone dares to call their kids imperfect. However, when such a comment was made by your children's dentist, they may have in fact said imperfecta, as in amelogenesis imperfecta. This is a relatively rare dental abnormality that requires comprehensive treatment. What are the signs of the disorder, and what can a dentist do to help overcome the issue?
As an adult, you might have looked at your teeth in the mirror and thought that they were looking decidedly yellow. This can be caused by a combination of aging, diet, and lifestyle. It might be bewildering when a young child's teeth begin to look yellow. Surely your child is too young to be affected by this type of discoloration? But yellow teeth in children can be caused by a number of issues, and one such issue is amelogenesis imperfecta.
A Congenital Issue
Amelogenesis imperfecta is a congenital issue, which means that it wasn't something that could have been prevented. It's a genetic disorder that has resulted in the irregular formation of your child's dental enamel. Instead of being largely translucent (with a light, off-white, or slightly yellowish hue), their enamel is noticeably yellow, or even grey or brown. This abnormality means that your child's dental enamel cannot protect the structure of their teeth as effectively as it needs to. This can lead to a range of problems, ranging from sensitivity to accelerated wear and tear, leading to the ultimate decay of your child's teeth.
An Obvious Problem
An issue such as amelogenesis imperfecta is extremely conspicuous, and your child's dentist will have noted it during a routine examination. However, if you should become concerned about the discoloration of your child's teeth or any sensitivity they may have experienced, you should schedule a dental appointment. Once the disorder has been diagnosed, a treatment plan can be formulated.
A Treatment Plan
It's likely that your child will require dental crowns. Depending on their age, these crowns may be stainless steel (for deciduous primary teeth), or porcelain (for permanent adult teeth). Since amelogenesis imperfecta can cause differing degrees of enamel malformation on different teeth, a full set of dental crowns may not be necessary, and some teeth can be protected with less extensive restoration work, such as dental bonding.
Untreated amelogenesis imperfecta can be disastrous, which is why it's important to begin treatment as soon as the issue is identified.