Causes and Management of Molar Incisor Hypomineralization (MIH)

Posted on 11/15/2023 by office
Concerned patient discussing her tooth pain with her dentist while sitting in a dental chair at Perrinville Family Dentistry.Molar incisor hypomineralization, often referred to as MIH, is a dental condition that impacts the formation of tooth enamel. Acquiring knowledge about the underlying causes of MIH and its treatment strategies is crucial for ensuring children facing this issue get the right care at the right time.

Enamel Defects

With MIH, the enamel on molars and sometimes incisors forms improperly, leaving defects. Enamel may be thin, soft, or porous. These areas become hypersensitive and prone to chipping, rapidly wearing down, and decaying once teeth erupt. The exact causes remain unclear but likely involve childhood illnesses or other disturbances during enamel formation.

Signs and Symptoms

Brittle, discolored enamel characterizes MIH visually. Children typically experience acute sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks, making brushing painful as well. These teeth tend to chip easily, fracture under pressure, and develop cavities rapidly. If not managed promptly, MIH can cause dental phobia and poor oral health. Early recognition leads to better outcomes.

Professional Examinations

Annual dental exams include screening for potential developmental enamel defects. Dentists confirm MIH through visual inspection, x-rays to assess enamel thickness, and sensitivity testing. Keeping regular checkup appointments allows early detection and monitoring. Parents should inform dentists about any childhood illnesses.

Treatment Approaches

Treatment aims to manage sensitivity, improve aesthetics, and prevent further breakdown. Depending on the severity, options include tooth-colored fillings, crowns, or extraction for non-restorable molars. Fluoride treatments strengthen enamel and limit decay. Custom trays or toothpaste for home use reduces sensitivity. Preventive resin sealants also protect grooves from collecting food debris.

Daily Home Care

Parents play an important role in supporting home dental care. Using a soft brush and non-abrasive toothpaste prevents enamel wear. Avoiding hard, sticky foods that fracture enamel is advisable. Bringing a cold drink or numbing gel to the dentist eases sensitivity during cleanings. With thoughtful home care and follow-up, MIH can be well-managed for healthy smiles.

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