What is Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
Amelogenesis Imperfecta (AI) is a condition affecting the teeth where there is abnormal development of the teeth. It is an inherited condition and affects the outer part of the teeth that is enamel, resulting in very thin, brittle teeth which break easily. The color of the affected teeth in Amelogenesis Imperfecta is also abnormal and the teeth also have irregular texture and shape.
Amelogenesis Imperfecta is often present in the early stages of the patient’s life. However, the prognosis of Amelogenesis Imperfecta is good as it responds very well to treatment.
Amelogenesis Imperfecta is also known as: Hereditary Brown Opalescent Teeth, Hereditary Brown Enamel and Hereditary Enamel Dysplasia.
Who is at Risk for Getting Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
Both men and women are equally affected with Amelogenesis Imperfecta. Amelogenesis Imperfecta presents during early childhood and is a genetic disorder. AI can worsen and persist into adulthood. Amelogenesis Imperfecta is seen all the over the world and can affect individuals from any race or ethnicity.
What are the Causes of Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
People with a family history of Amelogenesis Imperfecta are at increased risk for developing it. Amelogenesis Imperfecta occurs as a result of a congenital defect. According to studies, there are many genes which are responsible for the normal development of teeth. Mutation in one or more than one of these genes results in Amelogenesis Imperfecta. The gene mutation prevents the production of the required substances from the teeth which help preserve and protect healthy teeth. Patient can inherit the abnormal genes from either of the parents. It is important to note that patients without having any family history of Amelogenesis Imperfecta can also develop this condition; likewise, patients who have a family history of Amelogenesis Imperfecta do not always develop this condition.
What are the Symptoms of Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
Symptoms of Amelogenesis Imperfecta are:
- Malformation of teeth which are very thin, brittle and break easily.
- The teeth affected by Amelogenesis Imperfecta have an abnormal texture and irregular shape.
- The teeth changes in its colors from yellow to dark brown.
- There are exposed or unsealed areas present on the teeth affected by Amelogenesis Imperfecta.
- Teeth are not present in alignment and appear small.
- There is abrasion and erosion along the edge of the affected tooth in Amelogenesis Imperfecta.
- Patient has extreme tooth sensitivity to cold or hot liquids.
- Patient can develop secondary infections which causes pain in the mouth.
How is the Diagnosis of Amelogenesis Imperfecta made?
Amelogenesis Imperfecta can be diagnosed through history and physical examination of the patient. Patient’s family history of Amelogenesis Imperfecta is taken. Patient’s teeth will be examined to assess the severity of Amelogenesis Imperfecta. X-rays and imaging studies can be taken to diagnose Amelogenesis Imperfecta and to assess its severity. A genetic screening test can be done to confirm that Amelogenesis Imperfecta has resulted from an abnormal gene. Other tests may also be done to exclude other similar conditions.
Are there any Complications of Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
Some of the complications associated with Amelogenesis Imperfecta include:
The teeth become very brittle and break easily. If there is any change in the color and shape of the teeth, then it makes treating Amelogenesis Imperfecta more difficult. Early diagnosis helps in easy treatment of this condition. Another potential complication of Amelogenesis Imperfecta is that the patient can also develop secondary bacterial or viral infections.
What is the Treatment of Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
Treatment for Amelogenesis Imperfecta depends on the severity or the degree of damage which has occurred in the teeth. General treatment, which is very important, of Amelogenesis Imperfecta consists of ensuring that all the teeth are completely sealed and there are no cracks present on the teeth. This is done by applying a sealant on the pits, cracks or any exposed areas in the teeth. Consultation with orthodontist will be needed examine and assess the condition of the teeth so that proper mode of treatment can be deiced on how to restore and maintain proper alignment, regular shape and health of the teeth. If the teeth are extremely thin, then the dentist will place a crown on them to preserve them and to prevent further damage to the teeth affected with Amelogenesis Imperfecta. Another benefit of crowns is that they also help in dealing with the problems of increased tooth sensitivity.
If the teeth are severely damaged then they need to be completely removed and the patient may need implants. It is very important that the patient practice good oral hygiene and consume a low sugar diet to help against developing cavities in teeth, which are already vulnerable from Amelogenesis Imperfecta.
What is the Prognosis of Amelogenesis Imperfecta?
Amelogenesis Imperfecta has a very good prognosis, as there are many treatment options available for restoration of the affected teeth and to maintain healthy teeth.
Can Amelogenesis Imperfecta be Prevented?
As of now, there is no specific method for preventing Amelogenesis Imperfecta, as this is a hereditary condition. Expecting parents can undergo Genetic testing and counseling before planning a child to better understand the risks of this condition.