Virginia Veterinary Dentistry Because pets suffer dental pain, too!

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Enamel Defects

Enamel defects (called enamel hypoplasia) are areas where the crowns are not covered by protective enamel or have poorly formed enamel. They commonly occur when a tooth is in a developing stage early in puppy hood or kitten hood. Localized injuries can affect enamel formation and occur commonly, for example, when a vigorous 6-week old pup jumps from someone’s arms and hits the floor. A deep bruise can interfere with normal enamel formation. Also, any fever producing illness can cause enamel defects in a number of teeth. These defects are still commonly referred to as “distemper teeth” because distemper is a fever-producing disease that was common before modern vaccines were in widespread use. Regardless of the cause, when enamel damaged, the remaining tooth structure protecting the pulp is quite thin. This causes the teeth to be sensitive. It also enables bacteria to enter the tooth’s pulp chamber, resulting in death of the tooth. It is recommended that these areas be cleaned and sealed to prevent bacteria from entering. The areas can be restored with a bonded restoration as pictured above. However, some energetic chewers will eventually chip the restoration off.  An older pet’s teeth with enamel defects may or may not be healthy. They should be evaluated to determine whether they are okay or need therapy.



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Virginia Veterinary Dentistry
 Charlottesville, Virginia
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