Amelogenesis imperfecta

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Amelogenesis imperfecta is a tooth development disorder. It causes the tooth enamel to be thin and abnormally formed. Enamel is the outer layer of teeth.


Amelogenesis imperfecta is passed down through families as a dominant trait. That means you only need to get the abnormal gene from one parent in order to get the disease.


The enamel of the tooth is soft and thin. The teeth appear yellow and are easily damaged. Both baby teeth and permanent teeth are affected.

Exams and Tests

A dentist can identify and diagnose this condition.


The treatment depends on how severe the problem is. Full crowns will improve the appearance of the teeth and protect them from damage. Eating a diet that is low in sugar and practicing very good oral hygiene can reduce the chance of developing cavities.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Treatment is often successful in protecting the teeth.

Possible Complications

The enamel is easily damaged, which affects the appearance of the teeth, especially if left untreated.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your dentist if you have symptoms of this condition.


Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, Chi AC. Abnormalities of teeth. In: Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, Chi AC, eds. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 2.

Tinanoff N. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 307.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 2/22/2016
  • Michael Kapner, DDS, general and aesthetic dentistry, Norwalk Medical Center, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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