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When Baby Teeth Fail

This is a difficult post to write- both as a parent and as a dentist. But I think it's one that is necessary because I want other parents to know that sometimes, despite all of our best efforts, factors outside of our control can lead to our child(ren)'s baby teeth to fail.

This is a picture of my son's teeth. You'll notice that his left front tooth is broken and his right front tooth looks discolored. He's not even two years old and he may already need a crown.

Nicole and I have been monitoring his front teeth ever since they erupted. They erupted with discoloration and stain on them. I noticed that the enamel on these teeth were pitted (which is great for harboring cavity-causing bacteria) and overall weaker than his other teeth. We have been diligent in brushing his teeth twice a day, applying fluoride varnish, and keeping his diet healthy. Essentially, we did everything we could to try to keep his teeth healthy until his adult teeth come in (which happens around 6 years old). But it wasn't enough.

So, what caused the enamel on these two teeth to be weaker?

Since only his front two teeth are involved, it leads me to believe that he may have experienced a fever during their development that caused the teeth's enamel not to mineralize properly. In other words, the enamel on these two teeth did not develop fully, leading them to be weaker. Enamel is what protects our teeth and makes our teeth strong, so losing that layer of defense makes teeth very vulnerable to decay and breaking.

What's next for these teeth?

More than likely he will need a root canal on the broken tooth, if not a filling. It really depends how deep the decay goes and whether it has reached the tooth's pulp chamber (where the nerves of the tooth are). A filling may not work long term because of the tooth involved and the location of the decay/breakage. It's possible he may need a crown on this tooth in the future, at least until his adult teeth come in.

In regards to his right front tooth, since it's not as deep and the tooth is not broken, it should be repairable with a filling.

Only time will tell and we'll do our best to keep these teeth until his adult teeth come in.

Deluxe Dental Group, LLC | The Star Dental Group (DBA) | Dr. William Scott, DMD

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