Health

What are mulberry molars?

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon robinson

Sunday, July 28, 2019

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SEEING your child's baby teeth be replaced with permanent teeth can be an exciting time.

The process begins when children are five or six years old. The front teeth come in first, and soon after, the first molars follow. These teeth are sometimes called the “six-year molars”, and children have two on the bottom and two on top.

Sometimes, these new molars have an abnormal shape, which can be alarming for parents. Mulberry molars are one type of abnormality that can occur, resulting in teeth that have many small bumps, like mulberry fruits.

Cause of mulberry teeth

These unusually shaped molars are associated with congenital syphilis, which occurs when pregnant women transmit the disease to their babies, either through the placenta or during birth.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterial infection. Since most newborns with congenital syphilis don't have any symptoms, the disease may remain undetected at first. Later, parents may notice symptoms like tooth deformities.

Congenital syphilis can damage a child's developing tooth buds, resulting in mulberry molars or another condition called Hutchinson teeth. Mulberry molars can also be associated with other conditions that cause severe enamel hypoplasia, or thin enamel. However, these cases aren't usually as pronounced as those connected to congenital syphilis.

Diagnosis

Mulberry teeth are uncommon. However, dentists are aware of the condition and can identify it based on the characteristic berry appearance of the affected teeth.

Syphilis is diagnosed based on a blood test. People with syphilis have antibodies to the bacteria in their blood. Pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, as the condition can cause serious harm to the baby if passed on.

Treatment

Mulberry molars are more likely to develop cavities, so restorations such as crowns can be installed to improve aesthetic appearance and strengthen the teeth.

For children with mulberry teeth, treatment for syphilis is also incredibly important. This treatment can be performed by a paediatrician. Syphilis may be cured with penicillin. For children who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics can be prescribed.

Mulberry molars are one of many dental abnormalities that can affect children. If any of your children's teeth appear abnormal, see a dentist immediately to determine the cause.

Dr Sharon Robinson, DDS, has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa and is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.


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