Amelogenesis imperfecta (AI) is a heterogeneous group of inherited defects in dental enamel formation. The malformed enamel can be unusually thin, soft, rough and stained. The strict definition of AI includes only those cases where enamel defects occur in the absence of other symptoms. Currently, there are seven candidate genes for AI: amelogenin, enamelin, ameloblastin, tuftelin, distal-less homeobox 3, enamelysin, and kallikrein 4. To identify sequence variations in AI candidate genes in patients with isolated enamel defects, and to deduce the likely effect of each sequence variation on protein expression and structure, families with isolated enamel defects were recruited. The coding exons and nearby intron sequences were amplified for each of the AI candidate genes by using genomic DNA from the proband as template. The amplification products for the proband were sequenced. Then, other family members were tested to determine their genotype with respect to each sequence variation. All subjects received an oral examination, and intraoral photographs and dental radiographs were obtained. Out of 24 families with isolated enamel defects, only six disease-causing mutations were identified in the AI candidate genes. This finding suggests that many additional genes potentially contribute to the etiology of AI.