Hypomineralisation (sometimes called chalky teeth) is a developmental condition that affects teeth as they are forming during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first four years of life. Enamel on these teeth has marked, chalky looking areas with less mineral than unaffected enamel.
Irregularities in the enamel can happen either during or after enamel formation. More often than not it occurs after formation, through the breakdown of the enamel from bacteria and its acid waste – more commonly known as the process of tooth decay. This is preventable with good oral hygiene.
It can also occur naturally, resulting in hypomineralised teeth and this isn’t as preventable. Causes of hypomineralisation include sickness resulting in fever, consuming certain antibiotics and trauma during infancy, while the teeth are still developing. The most affected areas are the front central incisors (middle teeth) and first molars (six year old molars) as these are developing around the time of birth when such complications are more likely.
The first major repercussion of hypomineralisation is that the mineral deficient enamel layer is not well formed and more prone to breaking down and experiencing tooth decay. The second disadvantage is the chalky appearance of the tooth which, unless the area is small, is very hard to mask without drilling and preparing the tooth.
Regular dental check-ups and maintenance are ideal for both finding and reviewing high risk, chalky areas on teeth. Once aware of weaker enamel in your own, or your children’s mouths you will be able to focus more on maintaining meticulous oral hygiene in these areas, helping to prevent tooth decay.
If you are concerned about your teeth contact us on 5465 7995 to make an appointment with your dentist.