Dental hypoplasia, what is it?

Although caries tops the list of pathologies related to our mouth and, therefore, the ones we treat in dentistry and dental clinics around the world, there are many others and we have dealt with dozens of them in this blog. 

That is why in this post we are going to talk about dental hypocalcification, which, as its name suggests, is an anomaly in which the level of calcium present in the enamel is lower than what is considered 'normal' or 'advisable', to the point that it causes complications. 

These teeth do not have the right level of mineralisation, which makes their structure weaker than normal, thus making them more vulnerable to knocks or pathogens. 

Hypocalcification is therefore an anomaly that needs to be treated. But first, let us explain a few things about it. 

Causes of dental hypocalcification

Although this disorder shares certain similarities with others such as MIH or hypoplasia, such as the possibility of appearing before the eruption of teeth, it should not be confused and, in fact, we have more information about its causes than about those of MIH, for example. 

Let us look at some of them:

Genetic factors

Genetic inheritance is considered to be one of the most important causes of diseases affecting the enamel. In particular, the cause of dental hypocalcification is known as amelogenesis imperfecta, a dental development disorder that causes the aforementioned malformation.

Problems during tooth eruption 

Enamel hypocalcification can also appear in some cases in which the teeth, for various reasons, suffer complications and do not follow the different phases or stages of dentition that should be followed in the normal way. This could be:

  • Early eruption
  • Late eruption
  • Presence of malocclusion or bite problems
  • Retained or impacted teeth
  • Supraeruption: teeth that protrude out of their arch when not in contact with their antagonist.
  • Concrescence: fusion between the roots of different pieces that form a single crown.

Types of dental hypocalcification

We could classify hypocalcification depending on the number of teeth it affects and the degree to which it does so, or the staining it generates. 

Local hypocalcification

The one we see most often in the clinic. It affects only part of a single tooth and is caused by trauma or periapical infections. It generates opaque white spots on the crown. Normally, aesthetic treatments are used to fix it, either with composites or porcelain. 

Systemic hypocalcification

It is a consequence of diseases such as rickets, parotid deficiency or excessive fluoride intake during childhood. 

Hereditary hypocalcification

In these cases, the lack of calcium is noticeable throughout the tooth surface and results in very weakened enamel. This is the one that requires more definitive treatment.

What does dental hypocalcification look like?

It is possible to identify this dental anomaly because the teeth that suffer from it show a characteristic colouring in the form of white, yellowish or even brownish spots. To the touch, however, the affected tooth may look just like a healthy tooth, but because the amount of calcium it contains is below what is considered normal for proper tooth development, its internal structure is weakened and it may be somewhat softer than normal. 

Consequences of enamel hypocalcification

Enamel is the outer layer of teeth and its purpose is to protect them from external stimuli and impacts. However, when this part of the tooth does not perform its function properly, the tooth is exposed, both to bacteria (which increases the risk of caries) and to impacts, which could lead to a bill. 

In addition, it is often accompanied by increased tooth sensitivity. 

Treatment options for hypocalcification

Depending on the degree of enamel loss and the number of teeth affected, hypocalcification may be treated in one way or another. For example, there are occasions in which, as we mentioned above, the consequences are slight and the patient comes to the clinic for the stains themselves, without even having suffered tooth sensitivity. In these cases there is a treatment based on a specific product called ICON that is usually an ideal solution. 

In cases where the stains are more noticeable, or recurrent, or there is a slight loss of enamel, veneers, either porcelain or composite, will be used. 

In more severe cases where the enamel is weak and the risk of caries and other infections is high, a crown or cap is usually chosen, which will allow the tooth to be protected against caries (as weakened enamel should be) and to enjoy good function and aesthetics. 

If you think you suffer from this or any other enamel related problem and you are looking for advice, you can contact us through our usual channels, we will be happy to attend your case and offer you the best possible solution for it!