Aim: To describe the prevalence of different types of developmental defects of the enamel (DDE) in varying age-cohorts and habitations, and to analyse if early trauma to the primary teeth and early subsequent serious health problems were related to DDE in the permanent dentition. Dental fear and anxiety, and aesthetic problems as a consequence of DDE were also investigated.
Methods: DDE was registered over 5 years annually in three age cohorts (796 children). The DDE index (FDI Commision on Oral Health, Research and Epidemiology, Int Dent J 42:411-426, 1992) was used. Information on diseases in early childhood, trauma to the primary teeth, and dental fear and anxiety were collected.
Results: The prevalence of DDE was 33.2% (boys 37.1%, girls 29.3%, p = 0.02). Demarcated opacities (DEO), solely, were the most frequent kind of defect, affecting 18%. Five percent (5%) had diffuse opacities (DIO) and 1% had hypoplasias, whereas 7% had teeth with both DEO and DIO. The most frequently affected teeth of DEO, as well as of DIO, were the first permanent molars and maxillary central incisors. Dental injuries to the primary anterior teeth raised the risk for DDE in the permanent teeth, but early serious health problems did not. Generalised DDE was common (8.4%). The paediatric dentists assessed the DDE in the maxillary anterior teeth as more serious than did the affected children and their parents.
Conclusions: Generalised DDE was more frequent than expected, as well as the occurrence of both DEO and DIO in the same individual. The first permanent molars and the upper central incisors were the most affected teeth.
Keywords: Aesthetics; Developmental defects of the enamel; Epidemiology.