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What Is Dentin Dysplasia?

Treatment for dentin dysplasia can include regular dental care and attention.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2014
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Dentin dysplasia is a hereditary tooth disorder involving the underlying dentin that makes up the structure of the teeth. Representing the largest portion of the tooth, the dentin is a hard material found beneath the enamel, surrounding the pulp center of the tooth. Two forms of this condition are recognized; dentin dysplasia type one is also known as the radicular form, while type two is the coronal form. Treatment options involve keeping the teeth as healthy as possible with regular dental care and attention. This may include fillings and extractions to address oral health problems as the patient grows up.

Genetically, this appears to be a dominant trait. In people with the radicular form of dentin dysplasia, the pulp chambers in the teeth are undeveloped and the roots can be shortened. The external appearance of the teeth may be normal, and the problem can persist through to the permanent teeth, which may cause life-long oral health issues. These patients are an increased risk of losing teeth over the course of their lives and may experience complications like cavities.

Type two patients have enlarged pulp chambers and discolored teeth. This tends to occur primarily in the baby teeth. When the patient loses the primary teeth and the permanent replacements grow in, these may be healthy and normal. Radiologically, the two types look slightly different, which makes it possible to use dental x-rays to differentiate the specific form of dentin dysplasia a patient has.

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Treatments can include regular cleaning, scaling, and checkups to monitor oral health. These provide an opportunity to intervene quickly if the patient develops a problem. If teeth are lost as a result of the dentin dysplasia, the doctor can fit a spacer or prosthetic in place. This can help keep the other teeth in position, as well as allowing the patient to eat and speak normally. At the same time, dentists can check for other issues like receding gums which might complicate the patient's case.

People from families with a history of dentin dysplasia can pass this condition on to their children. Parents with concerns about this can meet with a genetic counselor to discuss their options. Their children may need careful evaluation in the first years of life to identify any dental abnormalities as early as possible. Dentin dysplasia doesn't always manifest in exactly the same way, so a parent with the condition should not assume that a child's will take the same form. Greater or fewer teeth may be involved, and the child could have varying levels of complications in association with the condition.

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