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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Kids

Enamel issues



My son`s teeth as a toddler started losing the enamel and then rotted out, only on the front ones. At two years old they put him to sleep and pulled four teeth on the top front, and capped four in the back on both sides. The bottom front are okay. He has since lost two teeth on the bottom front naturally ask kids do. Now at age 7 his top two teeth are coming in and it looks like they are starting to do the same thing the baby teeth did. The bright white has fadded and there is some brown showing. I took my fingernail to his tooth and it feels like the end of his tooth is chipping and like the top layer of his tooth is coming off. The dentist said he has an enamel deficiency. Is there anything I can do? I don`t want him ending up with false teeth as a teen. His cleaning revealed no cavities! I`m just afraid his big teeth are going to rot away to. I don`t allow gum and his soda intake is limited. He uses children`s listerine at night as well. He does not drink much milk and hasn`t his whole life due to allergies. Do I need to give him a calcium supplement? A vitamin supplement? Please help!


Thank you for this question. I can understand how this would be frustrating for you. A true enamel deficiency (where either the quality or quantity of enamel is deficient) can be very challenging for a child, the family, and the dentist.

I recommend that you ask your dentist whether a referral to a pediatric dentist or specialist would be a appropriate. Sometimes, children with enamel problems are treated aggressively (stainless steel crowns covering the entire tooth) to prevent 'chipping' and further damage.

I would also recommend possibly switching from Listerine (which is alcohol based) to a fluoride rinse at night. In some cases, a pediatric dentist will work with a pediatrician to come up with a plan of vitamin supplementation and follow up that would suit your child best.

The good news is that this is fairly early in his 'adult dentition' and now is the time to come up with a plan to ensure long term success - as well as making life easier for your son. I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Director, Residency Program, Division of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati