Developmental defects of enamel are often reported as a feature of the more severe forms of epidermolysis bullosa (EB). The purpose of this investigation was to determine the prevalence and character of enamel defects in each of the major hereditary EB types. Clinical evaluations were made on 237 individuals representing all of the major EB types and 58 unaffected individuals. All EB cases were categorized by phenotype, mode of inheritance and skin biopsy. The frequency of individuals having developmental enamel defects ranged from 8.6% in recessive dystrophic EB to 100% in junctional EB; 27.5% of the control population had these defects. Generalized hypoplasia characterized by either severe pitting and/or thin enamel was seen in all junctional EB cases but not in any other EB type. There was a tendency for the severe Herlitz form of junctional EB to have thin enamel while non-Herlitz junctional EB cases had less severe pitting and generally no reduction in enamel thickness. The prevalence of individuals with hypoplastic enamel bands was greater in the EB population (9.7%) than controls (1.9%). Thus individuals with simplex and dominant dystrophic EB typically have enamel defects that are similar in frequency and distribution to those of unaffected individuals. Developmental defects of enamel are a consistent feature of junctional EB, although the clinical expression is highly variable.