When your child's teeth start coming in, you may notice characteristics that aren't present in your adult teeth. Some of these characteristics are natural for developing teeth, while others may indicate some cosmetic or functional problems. Here are a few characteristics to be aware of.
Do you notice serrated edges on your child's teeth? These are mamelons, and they are perfectly normal in developing teeth and should be no cause for concern. When the anterior teeth develop (canines, lateral incisors, and central incisors), they start out as three lobes that eventually fuse together into tooth enamel. Even though the lobes fuse together, the incisal edges on your child's teeth may still show evidence of the separate lobes. Mamelons are usually worn down over time as a person ages. If a person has an overbite or underbite, however, it may take longer for mamelons to wear away since the anterior teeth of the upper and lower jaws don't occlude properly.
Like mamelons, perikymata are perfectly normal characteristics for developing teeth. At first, you may think these are hairline fractures on your child's tooth; however, perikymata are incremental growth lines on teeth. They may look like linear grooves or ridges. Like mamelons, perikymata usually soften or disappear as a person ages.
While fluorosis isn't a part of normal tooth development, it isn't an extreme cause for alarm since it's a cosmetic issue. When some children receive too much fluoride—like if they swallow too much toothpaste, their teeth can develop mild color discolorations or pits. Some discolorations may be lighter Your dentist can prescribe remineralizing pastes to lessen the cosmetic effects. Your child could also get whitening or other cosmetic services when he or she is older.
This condition results in thin enamel, which makes your child's teeth vulnerable to dental decay. Hypoplasia can be caused by pre-existing health conditions or prenatal issues. Hypoplasia can sometimes be confused with fluororis, since your child can develop white spots and pits. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it doesn't contain living cells and can't repair itself, so if your child has hypoplasia, you need to take him or her to the dentist to make sure that he or she receives extra attention and avoids decay.
If your child has a gray tooth, then the nerves in the pulp may be dying. If your child was in an accident, then the tooth may actually bruise on the inside and the pulp may be damaged beyond repair. If your child has deep decay, he or she could also be at risk for not only pulp damage but abscesses and jaw bone damage. If the pulp is beyond repair, he or she may need a baby root canal or extraction.
Contact dental care services in your area for more information about your child's developing teeth.