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Dental Problems and Premature Birth

By: Angela Rogers | Sep 14 2008 | 507 words | 1304 hits


Adults and children both suffer from dental problems due to various reasons. In this article, we have chosen a very different topic to discuss about the various thoughts that prevail about dental problems linked to children who are born premature. There are a lot of parents who think that their children suffer from dental problems because of them being born premature.

There have been various studies carried out that have proven the fact that children who are born premature are more prone to develop dental problems than children who are born full term. The different dental problems that these premature kids suffer from include delayed tooth eruption, hypoplasia of the enamel, discoloration of teeth, palatal groove and in most cases these kids need braces due to crowding of teeth.

The problem of delayed tooth eruption occurs in children who are born with a very low birth weight and are very sick at the time of birth. Other reasons that are linked to their delayed tooth eruption are infection at the time of birth, low nutrition, as well as prolonged intubation. There is a general concept, which states that normal birth stimulates the teething process but premature birth hinders it.

The process of tooth eruption in premature kids occurs with a delay of about two to six months than children who are born normal. So the parents must not be worried if their premature child is showing delay erupting teeth. Another dental problem occurring in children who are born premature is the enamel hypoplasia. The outer white covering of the teeth is the enamel. The frequency of enamel hypoplasia in premature children is about four to six times more than the normal children.

A very interesting fact that needs to be mentioned here is the left front upper teeth have two times more tendency to have enamel hypoplasia than the right ones. This problem does not get that severe though it shows itself on the permanent teeth. The major cause of enamel hypoplasia is intubation and mechanical ventilation. Another cause related to that is the decrease in nutrition.

These premature children who have enamel hypoplasia are more likely to develop cavities. Therefore continuous monitoring and regular brushing is required to prevent development of cavities. There is also a chance of development of tooth discoloration in premature kids. The basic reason for this is the cause of high bilirubin levels. This discoloration can be brown or yellow and when demonstrated on permanent teeth, it cannot be cleared off by the dentist.

The dentists are going over a debate that whether the premature kids need braces or not. Few orthodontists treat the crowded teeth and the palatal groove caused by the intubation tube with the braces, as well as the spacer for a couple of years. The problems that these preemies face after birth is crowding of teeth, teeth which are poorly positioned, problems with suckling and speech, and some might suffer from hearing problems.

I hope this article provides you with the vital information to orientate with the basic dental problems that are faced by premature kids.

About author:
Angela Rogers, Marketer for Nature's Smile,
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    Problems and Premature

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