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What Causes Hypoplastic Teeth?

Hypoplastic teeth (aka “enamel hypoplastic”) is the term used when enamel has not formed properly. This usually happens when your teeth are growing, but it can also affect both your primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth.

Find out about what causes hypoplastic teeth by reading our dentist‘s article below.

hypoplastic teeth

What is Enamel?

Enamel is made up of an organized structure of calcium phosphate crystals that is forced to withstand the harsh conditions inside your mouth, such as the acids from foods, frigidly cold and very hot temperatures, and bacteria. Furthermore, you put different forces on your enamel as you chew, bite, crunch, or grind.

But unfortunately, once it’s gone, enamel cannot grow back.

Causes of Hypoplastic Teeth

During Gestation

When it comes to primary teeth, there are numerous prenatal issues that contribute to someone’s propensity for having hypoplastic teeth, including:

  • Low birth weight and/or premature birth
  • Maternal vitamin D deficiency
  • Multiple births
  • Having a mother who smoked during pregnancy
  • Lack of delayed prenatal care in general
  • A mother who gains more weight than necessary during pregnancy
  • Cerebral palsy


As you go on to live your life your teeth can become hypoplastic due to:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Celiac disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria (like urinary tract infections or upper respiratory infections)
  • Exposure to chemicals and drugs (like lead paint, etc.)

Rare Diseases

Affected teeth can also be the result of rare inherited disorders like:

Usher Syndrome

A genetic disease that affects hearing and vision.

Amelogenesis Imperfecta

A disorder that causes teeth to be small, discolored, and prone to breakage, among other things.

Seckel Syndrome

A condition that causes slow growth before birth and results in low birth weight.

Ellis-van Creveld Syndrome

This is also known as dwarfism.

Treacher-Collins Syndrome

A condition that affects the way the cheekbones, jaw, ears, and eyelids develop.

Otodental Dysplasia

A condition characterized by enlarged canine and molar teeth and hearing loss.

22q11 Deletion Syndrome

A disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22.

Heimler Syndrome

A disease characterized by hearing loss, abnormalities in the secondary dentition (like enamel hypoplasia) and nail abnormalities.

Symptoms of Hypoplasia

Someone experiencing enamel hypoplasia may have:

  • White spots on their teeth
  • Easily stained teeth
  • Grooves or other indents in teeth
  • Bacteria/plaque build-up
  • Consistent cavities

Treatment of Hypoplastic Teeth

In General

The treatment options for hypoplastic teeth vary depending on the severity of the condition. For milder cases, treatment to improve the look of teeth (to remove white spots and stains) may be appealing. Furthermore, some more advanced cases may need treatment to prevent decaying and preserve the structure of the teeth.


Casein phosphopeptide amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP), can also be used to remineralize teeth and stop the growth of bacteria on enamel surfaces.

Stainless Steel Crowns

This treatment is especially recommended for children who are experiencing tooth hypoplasia because they can be placed during just one dental visit—not like the multiple appointments needed for crowns made of ceramic or precious metals.

Resin Infiltration

This minimally invasive treatment involves applying resin directly onto the white spots on teeth in order to lessen their appearance.

Enamel Microabrasion

This treatment uses acids and other abrasive materials (such as hydrochloric acid and silicon carbide) to remove stains and discolorations on teeth. After that, your dentist may recommend using a resin to the surface of your teeth.

Porcelain Veneers

Because the laminate involved in this procedure will be placed over your teeth, your dentist may need to bleach your teeth or use composite cement before the veneers are placed to make your teeth look whiter.

Teeth Bleaching

This is done to reduce the contrast between the white spots and unaffected parts of your teeth. The process involves getting your teeth prepped and then applying a gel for around 40 minutes. Most people need several sessions before they notice any difference. However, bleaching may not always be enough for deeper white spots.

Prevention of Hypoplastic Teeth

Of course, you can’t go back and erase or change the time you spent inside of your mother’s womb, and you can’t always control whether or not you develop or inherit a certain disease. But you can keep your teeth as healthy as possible by doing the following:

  • Getting dental checkups every six months (or more if recommended by your dentist).
  • Brushing your teeth twice daily.
  • Brushing with a soft toothbrush.
  • Rinsing your mouth out with lukewarm water.
  • Keeping sugary and acidic drinks to a minimum.
  • Getting fluoride treatments (either through rinses or applications).

Ask Our Dentist If You Have More Questions About Hypoplastic Teeth

Our dentist can answer any further questions you may have about hypoplastic teeth during your next dental appointment. To schedule your next exam, contact our dental office.

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Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.