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Dentinogenesis imperfecta

Dentinogenesis imperfecta is a hereditary defect of dentin that involves both the primary as well as the permanent dentition.

The disease occurs in several forms and the three most common among them are:

  • Type I dentinogenesis imperfecta,
  • Type II dentinogenesis imperfecta, and
  • Type III dentinogenesis imperfecta.

The type I Dentinogenesis imperfecta is often associated with osteogenesis imperfecta and it involves the deciduous teeth more commonly.

Dentinogenesis imperfecta which is not associated with osteogenesis imperfecta comes under type-II, and it involves the deciduous as well as the permanent teeth with equal frequency.

Type III Dentinogenesis imperfecta also known as the Brandy- wine type is an unusual form of the disease and it commonly shows multiple pulp exposures and periapical lesions in the deciduous teeth. Both dentitions are affected in this type.

Clinical Features

  • Dentinogenesis imperfecta clinically presents the following features:
  • The teeth exhibit an unusual opalescent or translucent hue, which is a characteristic feature of the disease.
  • The enamel on the tooth surface appears normal but very often it is lost by fracturing away due to the abnormal dentinoenamel junction.
  • Because of the early loss of enamel1 especially from the occlusal or incisal edges, the exposed dentin becomes attrited rapidly but the teeth do not show high caries susceptibility.
  • The color of the teeth ranges from gray to brownish violet or yellowish brown.

Radiological Features

  • In case of type I and type II Dentinogenesis imperfecta, the radio-graph shows obliteration of the pulp chamber and root canals by the deposition of dentin.
  • The teeth often appear “bell-shaped” due to their abnormal constriction at the cervical area and the roots are short and blunted.
  • In type III, the dentin appears very thin and the pulp chambers and the root canals are extremely large. Because of this, all the teeth appear as thin “shells” of enamel and dentin (shell tooth).


  • The dentin shows less number of dentinal tubules and these are irregular and larger.
  • Complete obliteration of pulp chamber and root canals by the deposition of dentin.
  • The dentinoenamel junction appears smooth, instead of being scalloped.
  • The enamel histologically appears normal.

The treatment for Dentinogenesis imperfecta involves construction of metal crowns in the posterior teeth and jacket crowns for the anterior teeth.

About Dr. Muna

Dr. Muna Taqi is a Dental surgeon from India who has more than 10 years of experience in the field of Oral & Maxillofacial surgery, Endodontics, & Pedodontics. She has worked in multinational medical corporates in Middle East and is also a consultant dental surgeon for many. She has authored many articles for medical journals & websites and is a consultant dental expert for Healthdrip.

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  1. Crowns are not always the best treatment for dentinogenesis imperfecta. I know that was traditional treatment for a long time, but some cases are severe enough that the teeth cannot support crowns. I had caps put on four permanent molars when I was in elementary school. The problem is, my teeth wouldn’t hold the caps. They kept coming off and I’d have to get them reapplied. My teeth wouldn’t even hold a filling. My pediatric dentist teaches at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, so he knew what he was doing.

    When I was in high school, I was sent to the UMSD prosthedontics department. There, I was told that crowns used to be the way to go with DI, but that treatment really needs to be done on a case-by-case basis. Mild cases of DI might be okay with crowns. That being said, UMSD is seeing a lot of people with DI who are not doing well with caps and ultimately choose a full denture. I was fitted with a denture over my natural teeth when I was 14, and it was incredible. The denture protected my teeth from wear and diffused the pressure of chewing in a way a cap wouldn’t. Teeth with DI can fracture at the root just from the pressures of normal eating, so diffusing that pressure was a wonderful thing.

    I’m 30 years old and just asked my dentist to remove my remaining permanent teeth so we could move forward with an implant-supported denture. He removed 28 teeth. The four that had been removed previously were the ones that had been capped when I was in elementary school. All four of those teeth developed abscesses when I was in high school.

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