Emergency Dentist: Knowing When to Call

« Back to Home

Why Hypomaturation in Your Dental Enamel Is Bad News for Your Teeth

Posted on

People can live with adverse dental health for many years—to the point that it's been normalised. This may well be the case with enamel hypomaturation, which is a congenital condition that affects the formation of your dental enamel (the hard outer layer of your teeth). Hypomaturation can cause enamel to develop discoloured patches, which are generally brown, yellow or even excessively white. There may also be pits and indentations on its surface. Enamel hypomaturation is not something that you should simply tolerate.

Difficult to Define

The exact cause of enamel hypomaturation is difficult to define. Enamel formation and mineralisation is a process called amelogenesis and is complete well before your teeth emerge from your gums. Hypomaturation is thought to be a lack of minerals supplied to your developing enamel during its final stages.

High Mineral Content

Enamel protects the tooth. It's about 96% minerals, and this benchmark simply wasn't reached in your case if you have hypomaturation. Your hypomaturation is likely due to genetic factors and was inevitable. It couldn't be predicted or prevented. But aside from the obvious discoloured patches on the surfaces of your teeth, why is this condition a problem?


Tooth enamel affected by hypomaturation has about the same thickness as healthy enamel, but it's not as dense. It can be slightly brittle. This means that it won't last as long as healthy enamel, and so may corrode without much to incite it. Corroded enamel will give way to the layer beneath (called dentin), which lacks the highly-mineralised shielding of enamel. This means that teeth affected by enamel hypomaturation may begin to decay relatively early in life, even if you maintain a decent standard of oral hygiene.


Even though the most obvious sign of your enamel hypomaturation is the discoloured patches, you can't whiten your teeth to rid yourself of the problem. You can't simply bleach away your hypomaturation. Modern dentistry has a practical solution, and it may have been your dentist who first properly diagnosed your hypomaturation during a regular checkup.


Dental treatment involves creating a synthetic layer of enamel that protects the overall structure of the tooth while also giving you an aesthetically pleasing smile. This treatment is actually incredibly simple, and uses dental bonding. The bonding material is the same tooth-coloured resin that is used to fill dental cavities. It's spread over the surfaces of your teeth, shaped, dried (with immediate results, using a curing light) and then polished. Your dentist basically covers your weak, pitted enamel with resin that looks like healthy enamel.

If you're suspicious that the strange patches of colour on your teeth are signs of enamel hypomaturation, please make an appointment with your dentist. 

For more info about dentistry, contact a local professional.