Developmental dental defects (D3’s) can occur for a variety of reasons, and one of the most common issues seen in children is Enamel Hypomineralisation or ‘chalky teeth’. Typical indicators that your child may be experiencing this issue include distinctive white marks on their teeth, along with a rough, chalk like texture on the tooth enamel. Around 1 in 6 children are affected by chalky teeth, and here at Specialist Kids Dentist we treat this condition on a case by case basis. With careful management, the risk of dental decay and frequent breakages can be reduced.
What are chalky teeth?
Hypomineralisation is a condition whereby the enamel of teeth is lacking in mineral. This causes the teeth to have a chalky, soft appearance. The condition most commonly effects the adult molars, which come in at around 6-7 years of age. As a paediatric dentist we can easily determine the extent of the issue during your child’s dental check-ups.
Approximately 15-20% of children will experience chalky teeth, and the severity of their condition can vary from mild to severe. The condition is a developmental defect associated with defective enamel formation. This occurs in late stage of pregnancy and continues to first two years of life. Maternal systemic illnesses, medications and complications during pregnancy would contribute significantly to the condition. Prematurity birth, low birth weight and stressful birth including emergency seizure would play a vital part. Early childhood diseases including asthma, ear nose and throat infections with prolonged administration of antibiotics and steroids would affect the condition. It is possible that environmental factors may also be at play such as vitamin D deficiency, malnutrition, bacterial infections, and more.
What are the side effects of chalky teeth?
The major issue with chalky teeth is that they are more susceptible to decay and breakage due to being so weak. Even if there is no plaque or bacteria present, teeth still wear down much faster than they should.
This is accompanied by increased sensitivity, particularly during brushing or eating/drinking. This can make it difficult to maintain dental hygiene due to the pain involved in brushing, and it can also limit your child from enjoying their favourite food and drink.
How are chalky teeth treated?
Treating chalky teeth is not always easy, and if the condition is picked up late then there may be no other option but to extract the teeth. However, if discovered early, it may be possible to use a combination of the following:
- Fillings – This can offer some protection against decay, but is usually only a temporary solution as the materials used are made to adhere to healthy enamel strong in minerals. Therefore, it is important that the condition of the fillings and affected tooth is monitored regularly.
- Crowns – a paediatric stainless steel crown can be used to reinforce tooth and help make teeth stronger and reduce pain. This can be followed later by permanent porcelain crown when the child is older than 18 years of age
- Pain Relief – we understand that children with hypomineralisation experience a heightened sense of pain and sensitivity, and we do our best to keep them comfortable during their visit. We can numb teeth or use a general anaesthetic, with the goal being to ensure that they do not associated the dentist with pain.
- Fluoride Treatments – This can help to build stronger teeth and reduce the risk of cavities
- Tooth Mousse – This will provide your child with an extra protective layer on their teeth, as it contains a concentrated dose of calcium and phosphate to help build strength and reduce sensitivity.
- Extraction – this will only be done in severe cases which cannot be treated any other way. Timing extraction is important to achieve optimal closure of the space. This is to avoid tipping of adjacent teeth and opposing tooth into the extracted site. Careful orthodontic analysis, factoring harmonious bite are some important considerations
Worried Your Child May Have Chalky Teeth? Schedule an Appointment Today
At Specialist Kids Dentist, we want to help every child maintain healthy dental habits for life. If you believe your child might be suffering from enamel hypomineralisation, please schedule an appointment with us today. The sooner this condition is identified, the better the treatment options and outcome will be for your child. Our dentists can help to alleviate pain and sensitivity and develop a comprehensive management plan that will ensure optimal dental health into the future.
Schedule an appointment today on 02 9600 6848. We look forward to welcoming you and your child at our dental clinic.