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Module 3: Caries Risk Assessment

3.2 Caries Risk Assessment

Oral Health Screening

Other Common Oral Health Conditions

When conducting an oral health screening, a provider may observe conditions other than tooth decay, such as the following:

Developmental Defects
Disorders or disruptions in the process by which teeth form can result in a variety of structural defects. These defects may include abnormally shaped teeth, abnormal tooth color, and abnormal tooth enamel. Developmental defects often place teeth at high risk for dental caries. All children who present with one or more teeth with developmental defects should be referred to a dentist.

Neonatal Teeth
Neonatal teeth erupt within the first 30 days of life. As many as 85 percent of these are a part of the normal primary dentition and are not supernumerary (extra teeth). Often, these teeth are hypermobile, and aspiration is a concern. A referral should be made to a dentist for treatment.

Nonvital Tooth
It is not unusual for a young child to fall on a tooth, traumatizing its pulp. Over time, the pulp undergoes necrosis, which changes the color of the tooth from white to grey or pink. In some cases, a nonvital tooth can be retained until it exfoliates naturally without adversely affecting its corresponding permanent tooth. If swelling or a “gum boil” appears in the gum tissue adjacent to the tooth, infection is likely, and the child should be referred to a dentist.

Developmental defect Neonatal teeth Nonvital tooth
Developmental Defect   Neonatal Teeth   Nonvital Tooth
Used with permission from Norman Tinanoff, D.D.S., M.S., University of Maryland Dental School.