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Pediatr Dent. 2001 Jan-Feb;23(1):32-6.

Prevalence of enamel hypoplasia and isolated opacities in the primary dentition.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Iowa, College of Dentistry, USA.



Enamel hypoplasia is of interest to both the clinician and the basic scientist because it may indicate an increased risk for caries and can contribute to the understanding of enamel development. The purpose of this paper is to report the prevalence of enamel hypoplasia and isolated enamel opacities in a cohort of healthy, well-nourished children in Iowa.


The study sample consisted of 698 children examined at 4-5 years of age. Individual tooth surfaces were scored for the presence of enamel hypoplasia (EH) and isolated enamel opacities. Prevalence of EH and isolated opacities were determined by tooth type and by gender.


Six percent of the children examined had at least one tooth with EH; 27% had at least one tooth with isolated enamel opacities. There was no difference in the prevalence of EH between boys and girls, but significantly more boys than girls had enamel opacities.


The prevalence of enamel defects in this study group is comparable to that seen in other studies of normally developed children except that in this study, the primary tooth types most commonly affected with enamel hypoplasia or isolated opacities were mandibular second molars and maxillary second molars, respectively.

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