Dentin Dysplasia Explained: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


Dentin Dysplasia Types 1 and 2 Explained

Dentin dysplasia (often abbreviated DD) is a rare condition that affects the teeth (more accurately, it impacts dentin, but more on that a little later). If you or someone you know might be suffering from it, you should take steps toward addressing and treating it. 


Preventive dental care and booking an appointment with your dentist are always the best option when you notice something is wrong, but you can benefit from learning about this disease on your own. First, to understand it better, we should briefly go over the anatomy of the tooth. The ensuing explanation will make much more sense once we get the basic terminology out of the way.

The Basic Structure of the Tooth

Let’s get a quick overview of the tooth’s anatomy. Here are the “building blocks” of teeth. 


The pulp is the soft, central part of the tooth. It’s the hub for all the blood vessels and nerve endings in the tooth. It also contains connective tissue and nerve endings.


Dentin surrounds the pulp of the tooth. This hard layer lies just under the enamel, which we’ll talk about in a bit. As the name would suggest, this is the part that dentin dysplasia affects.


Enamel covers the dentin portion of the tooth. It’s the surface part of the tooth that you can see and touch. Enamel is even harder than dentin. 


In contrast to enamel, you can’t see the cementum from the outside. That’s because it’s the hard layer protecting the part of the tooth below the gumline. It also serves to connect the tooth to the periodontal ligament.

What Is Dentin Dysplasia

Now that we better understand the relevant terminology, we can dive into the particulars of this condition. In short, DD is a rare disorder that forces dentin to grow in an abnormal way. That makes it misshapen and causes the enamel above to chip away. 


In addition to suffering from other symptoms, the person with DD loses their teeth by the time they’re 30–40 years old. However, it might not be obvious that you had the condition before that happens since the affected part of the tooth is under the gum surface. In children, the condition may be apparent as it often makes baby teeth look milky and transparent.


Specialists categorize DD into two kinds depending on where it manifests: Type 1 and Type 2.

Dentin Dysplasia Type 1

Type 1 dental dysplasia affects the root portion of the tooth under the gumline. It will usually stunt root development. In fact, it can stymie its growth to the point where the root barely develops at all. As expected, that makes it harder for the tooth to hold its place. 


Dentin Dysplasia Type 2

Whereas Type 1 attacks the root, Type 2 dental dysplasia appears on the “visible” side of the tooth. This is the kind of DD that manifests as a milky, brownish hue in baby teeth.


But Type 2 also seeps into the pulp, creating so-called pulp stones inside of it. The pulp chambers (basically the space where the pulp is) tend to become deformed, extending toward the root in abnormal ways (often described as being flame-shaped).

Causes and Rarity

This condition is genetic, meaning you can’t get it later in life or contract it like a transmittable disease. If someone in your family has it, the chances you’ve got it as well get higher. It equally targets men and women, so sex doesn’t factor into the likelihood of having DD.


Dentin dysplasia is a rare disorder, and it affects approximately one in 100,000 people on average. More accurately, Type 1 affects people at that rate, whereas Type 2 is believed to be more common, though it isn’t known by how much.


Treating teeth affected with DD is quite difficult. The condition of the afflicted teeth is simply too complicated to address. As such, the teeth can’t really be “fixed,” and they’ll eventually start falling out. The best you can do is trust preventive dentistry and keep your teeth as healthy as they can be and prolong their exfoliation.


But that doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Once your teeth fall out, you have the option of getting either dentures or implants, depending on the severity of the problem and your monetary situation.


Dentures are often the quicker, more affordable solution for replacing lost teeth. You can get partial or full dentures, depending on your needs. They can be placed in your mouth in a variety of ways: 1) they can wrap around your gums, 2) snap into place via implanted locators, 3) cling onto your natural teeth (not an ideal solution for someone suffering from dentin dysplasia due to the inevitable tooth loss), and so on.


On the flip side, it’s often the case that the dentures you acquire aren’t custom-made. That can potentially lead to discomfort as they fail to fit you properly. In addition, dentures don’t tend to last as long as implants (though replacing them is usually easier).

Getting Implants

Implants tend to be a more permanent, custom-made solution. As such, they’re usually more natural-looking. On the other hand, implants require surgery to install. Not only does that put off many people, but you might not be eligible for some kinds of implants due to poor bone density.


All the information we’ve laid out here may sound disheartening. However, there are ways to tackle dentin dysplasia without it becoming a permanent obstacle to enjoying your life to its fullest. With the right oral hygiene practices and an early diagnosis, you can prolong your oral health and lead a relatively unfettered lifestyle. So take care of your teeth, and visit your dentist regularly, and you will have nothing to worry about.