Amelogenesis imperfecta

  • Definition
    • Amelogenesis imperfecta is a tooth development disorder. It causes the tooth enamel to be thin and abnormally formed. Enamel is the outer layer of teeth.

  • Causes
    • Amelogenesis imperfecta is passed down through families as a dominant trait. That means you only need to get the abnormal gene from one parent in order to get the disease.

  • Symptoms
    • The enamel of the tooth is soft and thin. The teeth appear yellow and are easily damaged. Both baby teeth and permanent teeth are affected.

  • Exams and Tests
    • A dentist can identify and diagnose this condition.

  • Treatment
    • The treatment depends on how severe the problem is. Full crowns will improve the appearance of the teeth and protect them from damage. Eating a diet that is low in sugar and practicing very good oral hygiene can reduce the chance of developing cavities.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Treatment is often successful in protecting the teeth.

  • Possible Complications
    • The enamel is easily damaged, which affects the appearance of the teeth, especially if left untreated.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your dentist if you have symptoms of this condition.

  • References
    • Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, Chi AC. Abnormalities of teeth. In: Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, Chi AC, eds. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 2.

      Tinanoff N. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 307.