Most of the time, you are in control of your cavity risk. Your diet and hygiene habits usually have the biggest influence on how healthy your teeth and gums are.
However, sometimes genetic variations can put your teeth at risk. And recently researchers discovered a particular genetic variation that can dramatically impact the health of your teeth. If you have this mutation, you might be likely to develop serious tooth problems at a young age.
The Call of Calcium
The discovery of this variation started with a dentist whose patient had serious tooth problems very young. By age 8 months it was clear their teeth weren’t developing properly. By age six, the child had multiple infected teeth which would be treated with root canal therapy in adults, the sort of thing we’d expect to see from someone much older. By age 8, the patient’s teeth were breaking down almost completely.
This was only one of multiple related health problems. The patient had abnormal fingernails, decreased muscle tone, and a compromised immune system.
In the end, researchers traced all these problems to a mutation of the ORAI1 gene. This genetic mutation had previously been linked to the multiple problems this patient was experiencing, but no one knew why. Looking at this patient and with the help of a dental perspective, researchers were able to nail down that it was calcium which connected all the problems. Calcium is a critical element for teeth, but it also does many other things in the body. The ORAI1 mutation changed the way our cells use calcium, messing up communication in the immune system, and, critically, making it harder for the element to enter tooth enamel. The result is undermineralized teeth that are vulnerable to decay or breakage.
Sometimes Full Mouth Reconstruction Is Necessary
Preventive dentistry is effective for most people, but it depends on you having healthy tooth structures to begin with. For some people tooth enamel doesn’t fully develop, either because of a genetic variation like this one or perhaps exposure to certain chemicals when growing up, including fluoride from well or natural water. In these cases, nothing we do will protect your teeth from damage.
In these cases, reconstructive dentistry might be advised from an early age. Depending on the situation, we might use dental crowns to try to protect teeth that don’t have strong enamel but are otherwise healthy. Other times, teeth might need to be extracted and replaced. For kids, this usually means dentures, but we can use dental implants for adults.
Full Mouth Reconstruction in Rochester
At Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry, we are prepared to perform full mouth reconstruction in even very complicated cases. We will carefully evaluate your oral health and design a solution that promotes the health and function of your teeth, including designing a healthy bite.