What is Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation?
Molar incisor hypomineralisation (MIH) is a developmental condition affecting the formation of tooth enamel. It results in enamel that is not as strong and mineralised as it should be. Teeth affected by MIH will have white, creamy, yellow or brown patches. They also tend to be sensitive to hot, cold and sweet foods. The cause of MIH is currently unknown but it is speculated to be related to severe childhood or maternal illness, high fevers, or trauma to the tooth during its development. MIH primarily affects the adult molars and incisors but can involve any tooth in the dentition. If baby teeth have MIH, the adult teeth are more likely to have the condition. It can present in mild or severe forms and it is estimated that about one in five children will have some presentation of this condition.
How Do I Know If My Child Has MIH?
A dental check-up and x-rays can show whether or not your child has MIH. Severity is determined by the size and extent of the lesions as well as the number of teeth affected. It is important to recognise MIH early so that preventative measures can be taken. MIH involved teeth have a much higher rate of breaking down, chipping, fracturing and decaying due to the poor enamel quality. This can cause pain and discomfort, as well as cosmetic issues for your child.
What Can Be Done?
Treatment for MIH varies depending on the severity of the condition. For mild cases the tooth can be monitored regularly and fluoride applied to strengthen the enamel. For moderate cases the treatment required may include fissure sealants, fillings, and in some cases, stainless steel crowns. When the MIH is severe sometimes the best treatment is removal of the tooth followed by orthodontic treatment to close any gaps created. There are products available to be used at home, including tooth mousse, which aids in restoring the mineral content of the teeth. You will need a consultation with a dentist to determine if your child has MIH and what treatment options are available.