Thursday, February 11, 2010

Preemie Teeth

I've added a new link in the sidebar about dental problems in preemies. Noah deals with the following dental issues:

1. Intrinsic staining: this is a nice way of saying that his teeth are mostly green with a bit of yellow closest to the roots, and there's nothing we can do about it. The most probable theory is that this was caused by his liver issues in the NICU, although another likely theory is that it was caused by a medication.
2. Enamel hypoplasia: this means that Noah doesn't have enough enamel on his teeth, which can cause all sorts of problems. The biggest concern is cavities and so far we've avoided that. Noah does currently have a chipped tooth, though, and there isn't enough enamel on the tooth to adhere a filling or crown to, even if they did make crowns in green (which surprisingly, they don't).
3. Oral aversion: this isn't technically a dental problem, but brushing Noah's teeth can lead to vomiting, and that seems like a problem to me.
4. Severe GERD: again, this is not technically a dental problem. But when Noah's reflux isn't under control he vomits a lot, and that's not at all good for your teeth.
5. Tooth crowding: I'm not at all sure that this is preemie related but Noah's mouth is too small for his teeth. The teeth that are in there right now are super tight and while his gums are swollen enough to make his dentist think his 6 year molars are on their way soon, there isn't enough room for them to come it.

Over all our plan is to spend the next few years encouraging dental hygeine and hope that some of Noah's baby teeth last long enough for his adult teeth to come in. Depending on what kind of shape the adult teeth are in, we'll make a more long term plan that might include caps, crowns, braces, or even dentures. For now I'm just worried about making him grow so he has room for those 6 year molars.


leah said...

Oh, goodness- I hope his baby teeth last long enough to avoid crowns, etc. I've heard that GERD can do a number on tooth enamel just on its own- I can't imagine adding in weak tooth enamel, etc. to the mix.

Noah, grow that little jaw to let all those teeth fit with room to spare!

Joanna said...

Another thing I have learned about the enamel problem is that babies develop enamel in the womb btn 20-24 weeks. Our boyrs were being born then. I know with Campbell he was very sick at birth and fighting hard to stay alive. Enamel growth was the last of his worries. Dental pediatricians have told me that Campbell did not grow enamel for that reason.

Great baby pic of Noah...what a cutie!!

Joanna Labonte

Clare x x said...

I had a 30 weeker who stopped growing at 26 weeks (1lb 14oz) she has little enamel, her teeth are yellow, very rounded & some havent formed correctly, we were told it was due to all the drugs she had in neonatal & that hopefully her adult teeth will come through ok, we hope so as it will be one less thing to worry about x x