Polarized light and scanning electron microscopic investigation of enamel hypoplasia in primary teeth

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2010 Jan;20(1):31-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2009.01006.x.


Background: Enamel hypoplasia is a developmental disturbance during enamel formation, defined as a macroscopic defect in the enamel, with a reduction of the enamel thickness with rounded, smooth borders. Information on the microstructural level is still limited, therefore further studies are of importance to better understand the mechanisms behind enamel hypoplasia.

Aim: To study enamel hypoplasia in primary teeth by means of polarized light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.

Methods: Nineteen primary teeth with enamel hypoplasia were examined in a polarized light microscope and in a scanning electron microscope.

Results: The cervical and incisal borders of the enamel hypoplasia had a rounded appearance, as the prisms in the rounded cervical area of the hypoplasia were bent. The rounded borders had a normal surface structure whereas the base of the defects appeared rough and porous.

Conclusions: Morphological findings in this study indicate that the aetiological factor has a short duration and affects only certain ameloblasts. The bottom of the enamel hypoplasia is porous and constitutes possible pathways for bacteria into the dentin.

MeSH terms

  • Ameloblasts / pathology
  • Dental Enamel / pathology
  • Dental Enamel / ultrastructure
  • Dental Enamel Hypoplasia / pathology*
  • Dentin / pathology
  • Dentin / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning*
  • Microscopy, Polarization*
  • Porosity
  • Replica Techniques
  • Tooth, Deciduous / pathology*
  • Tooth, Deciduous / ultrastructure