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Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Teeth

If you have a child with brittle bones, it's important to know about the relationship between osteogenesis imperfecta and teeth. About 50 percent of patients with osteogenesis imperfecta have normal teeth. However, the other 50 percent have blue or brown teeth that are "opalescent" or milky in appearance (cleaning will not change this discoloration). Also, the rate of decay can increase if teeth wear away due to poor enamel.

An Overview of Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Teeth

About 50 percent of patients with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) have blue or brown teeth that are "opalescent" or milky in appearance. The baby teeth erupt with this color -- the color does not develop after eruption. The color difference may first be noted by parents and is usually obvious. Dental abnormalities cannot be prevented, and cleaning will not change the discoloration. The rate of decay can increase if teeth wear away because of poor enamel. The other 50 percent of patients with osteogenesis imperfecta have teeth of normal color.
 

Will My Child's Teeth Be Normal?

Since the first baby tooth erupts at about six months of age, you can tell at that time whether the rest of the teeth will be affected. If the first baby teeth are white, then the rest of the teeth will be white, and there is no need to be concerned about anything except routine dental care. If, on the other hand, the first teeth are blue or brown, the other baby teeth, as well as some or all of the permanent teeth, will also be discolored. Dental abnormalities vary widely in individuals with osteogenesis imperfecta, and there appears to be no correlation between the severity of the bone problem and the severity (or even the presence of) tooth discoloration.
 

Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Teeth: What to Do

If your child is diagnosed as having OI at birth, he or she should see a dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. If the teeth are discolored, they may wear down very rapidly; in fact, they may wear down even before they completely erupt. Fewer than half of the individuals with discolored teeth, however, have severe problems with the teeth wearing down. One of the main methods of treatment has been to place crowns over the teeth to prevent them from wearing.
 
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