Hypomineralisation (a developmental condition also known as ‘chalky teeth’) affects teeth as they are forming during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first four years of life. The enamel on these teeth will be characterised by ‘chalky’ looking areas which are deficient in minerals.
Enamel irregularities occur during or after enamel formation. Generally you’ll see this start to occur after the enamel has been formed, through the breakdown of the enamel from bacteria and its acid waste (a process you’ll know by its more conventional name – tooth decay).
Practising good oral hygiene will help minimise the chances of this occurring to your teeth, but unfortunately these irregularities can also occur naturally, which results in what we call hypomineralised teeth. This is more difficult to prevent and usually requires a dentist visit to find and review these high risk chalky areas.
There are myriad causes of hypomineralisation, which include fever, taking (some) antibiotics/trauma during infancy (while the teeth are still developing). Generally the most affected teeth will be the most visible ones, unfortunately – the front central incisors (middle teeth) and first molars (six year old molars) will often be affected. This is because the teeth are developing around the time of birth when such complications are more likely.
The first major issue that hypomineralisation creates is that the mineral deficient enamel layer is poorly formed. This results in the layer being substantially more prone to breaking down and the owner experiencing tooth decay. The second disadvantage is the chalky appearance of the teeth which is very difficult to remove without drilling and preparation.
Ensuring you attend regular dental check-ups and maintenance will help us in both both finding and reviewing high risk, chalky areas on teeth. Once you’re aware of the weaker enamel of the potential for it to occur, you’ll be able to focus more effectively on maintaining oral hygiene, helping to prevent tooth decay.
If you are experiencing this issue or simply need to make a checkup please give the team at Polished Dental a call on 07 3878 3889 or click here to make an online booking.