Why You Don't Want a Pearl on Your Teeth

23 April 2021
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Some dental conditions can be baffling. You might be vigilant when it comes to brushing and flossing, while paying careful attention to how your diet can affect your dental health. Despite your best efforts, you might have a tooth that simply refuses to respond to your efforts, demonstrating a disproportionate level of sensitivity, and perhaps even experiencing unexplainable deterioration. Since you've done everything you can to maintain your dental health, why does the tooth in question refuse to cooperate with your efforts?

Enamel and Cementum

It's helpful to understand the basics of a tooth's anatomy. The visible surface of a tooth is made of dental enamel, which is a robust, highly mineralised substance that acts as a protective coating. This is the accessible part of a tooth and the part that you actually clean. Beneath the gum line, this enamel gives way to cementum, which is a protective coating for the tooth's root. In rare cases, your dental enamel has grown abnormally, reaching into places where it ordinarily wouldn't be found.

Irregular Enamel Growth

Ectopic enamel is the irregular growth of dental enamel, where the substance has extended beneath the gum line. Many people with ectopic enamel don't experience any difficulties, and their regular dental care is perfectly adequate for maintaining the health of their teeth, despite the ectopic nature of their enamel. Of course, this depends on the shape in which the ectopic enamel has developed. 

An Enamel Pearl

Some types of ectopic enamel can form what is known as an enamel pearl. This is a small nodule of enamel, and depending on its location, it can create a site that permits the accumulation of harmful oral bacteria, encouraging tooth decay while also heightening sensitivity. How can an ectopic enamel pearl be treated?

Removing the Pearl

When your dentist has confirmed the presence of an ectopic enamel pearl (which usually only happens when the state of the tooth has encouraged them to hunt for the cause), its removal is straightforward. A small incision will be made to access the pearl, which is when buffed away using a small handheld dental bur. The tooth root is then planed (smoothed out) to restore full functionality to the tooth and its root system. The tooth might require additional restoration work if it has experienced deterioration (such as the development of a cavity).

Moving forward, your regular oral hygiene practices should be perfectly sufficient to maintain the tooth once the troublesome ectopic enamel pearl has been removed.

For more information, contact a dentist in your area.