Classified as a disorder affecting the process of mineralization of bones and teeth, Hypophosphatasia manifests as a result of a defective gene (ALPL) that contributes to mineralization. While the disorder is genetic and listed as rare, there are six categories or clinical types of Hypophosphatasia, as described by Everyday Health.
- Lethal Perinatal Hypophosphatasia – results in fetuses developing non-ossified “spurs” on the surface of their skin. Following birth, infants commonly experience apnea, seizures, or shortened long bones. Lack of development of the lungs and chest cavity usually result in respiratory distress and/or death shortly after birth.
- Prenatal Benign Hypophosphatasia – when fetuses present signs of having hypophosphatasia, but experience a sudden improvement (usually during the third trimester) in their skeletal conditions, this is called prenatal benign hypophosphatasia.
- Infantile Hypophosphatasia – developing within the first six months of life, infantile hypophosphatasia results in infants that have respiratory concerns (rickets), high blood calcium levels and other problems such as poor feeding, low muscle tone, excessive thirst, dehydration and constipation.
- Childhood Hypophosphatasia – with various bone and teeth concerns, childhood hypophosphatasia may involve repeated bone fractures or pain, delay in walking, short stature, waddling gait and premature tooth loss.
- Adult Hypophosphatasia – with symptoms such as premature tooth loss and pain from repeated fractures, adult hypophosphatasia usually develops during middle age.
- Odontohypophosphatasia – contrary to other types, odontohypophosphatasia does not include bone issues, but usually involves severe dental cavities and other oral health problems.
While prenatal hypophosphatasia is a serious, often fatal condition, those with childhood hypophosphatasia can live normal lives. Yet, dental care is critical. Because the process of bone mineralization is impaired, affected teeth are not as strong or rigid. For instance, if back teeth are affected by hypophosphatasia, they may take on a spiky appearance, similar to an icicle. The improper formation of bone means that these teeth are more likely to succumb to tooth decay or early cavities.
Early, Preventative Dental Care Is Key
Providing comprehensive dental care to families in Marietta and surrounding areas, Dr. Leia Porcaro at Grateful Dental emphasizes the importance of early, preventative dental care. When it comes to hypophosphatasia, Dr. Porcaro understands the implications of this disorder and is well-equipped to provide treatment and advice that will preserve your oral health. Do you have questions about hypophosphatasia? Is it time to schedule an appointment? Call Grateful Dental today.