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Research on Teeth of Premature Children

Research on the teeth of children born premature.

Summaries by Allison Martin

Enamel defects in primary and permanent teeth of children born prematurely. Aine L; Backstrom MC; Maki R; Kuusela AL; Koivisto AM; Ikonen RS; Maki M J Oral Pathol Med 2000 Sep;29(8):403-9 (Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Tampere, Finland.)

The prevalence of enamel defects in children born preterm was clearly higher in primary teeth (78% vs 20% controls, P<0.001) and permanent teeth (83% vs 36% of controls, P<0.001). Neither the mineral supplementation used nor a higher dose of vitamin D dose reduced the prevalence of enamel defects.

Maturation of primary and permanent teeth in preterm infants. Backstrom MC, Aine L, Maki R, et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2000; 83:F104-F108.

Although the eruption of the first tooth in preterm girls was later than in preterm boys studied, by the age of 2 years the authors found no significant delays in tooth maturation of 30 children born preterm and the control group. Maturation of permanent teeth was not found to be delayed in the children born preterm, at 9-12 years of age.

A controlled study of the morphometric changes in the primary dentition of pre-term, very-low-birthweight children. Seow WK; Wan A., J Dent Res 2000 Jan; 79(1):63-9

The primary incisor teeth of pre-term children were smaller than full term children, descreasing in size by birthweight category. In addition, the left sided teeth of very-low-birthweight children were significantly smaller than those on the right side.

Enamel hypoplasia and dental caries in very-low birthweight children: a case-controlled, longitudinal study. Lai PY; Seow WK; Tudehope DI; Rogers Y. Pediatr Dent 1997 Jan-Feb;19(1):42-9

A study of 25 very-low birthweight (VLBW) preterm children found significantly more enamel hypoplasia (missing enamel) than in normal birth weight children. At 4 1/2 years, 96% of VLBW group had at least one tooth with enamel defect, compared to 45% NBW children. In some cases both enamel hypoplasia and opacity were associated with dental caries in VLBW children in their thrid and fourth year. However, dental caries were not significantly increased in the preterm (VLBW) children.

Environmental causes of enamel defects. Brook AH; Fearne JM; Smith JM. Ciba Found Symp 1997; 205:212-21. (Department of Paediatric Dentistry, St Bartholomew's, London, UK.)

This study found that 67% of 1518 London school children had enamel defects in their permanent teeth; 10.5% have 10 or more teeth affected. 14.6% were missing enamel. In contrast, a group of third to fifth century Romano-Britons from Dorset, England had 37% hypoplasia! The authors remark that a long-term study of dental development in low birth weight children has shown significantly more enamel defects.

Updated 7/2001

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