Who doesn't like a healthy, bright set of pearly whites? Unusual discolored areas of enamel can prevent a beautiful smile from truly shining through. These discolored patches can make people feel very self-conscious and negatively impact different aspects of their life. There can be different reasons for the appearance of white spots on teeth such as fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia, and demineralization.
When large amounts of fluoride are ingested during the time teeth are still forming, fluorosis can occur. It could be due to a combination of sources like excessively fluoridated water, certain supplements, and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste. Although fluoride helps make teeth more resistant to decay, too much can be harmful. Enamel discoloration can appear chalky white, yellow, or even brown.
Hypoplastic enamel is the less mineralized areas of enamel that are more susceptible to decay. When there is a disruption to the tooth-development process white spots can form on the surface of the enamel. It may result from nutritional deficiencies, medicinal side effects, prenatal smoking, high fever during the tooth developmental process (causing disruption), and premature births. The hypoplastic enamel appears milky white to brownish or yellow spots.
Usually due to inadequate oral hygiene maintenance, plaque accumulates on the teeth and results in the demineralization of tooth enamel. Bacterial acids cause demineralization and can lead to tooth decay. White spots can be the early signs of dissolving tooth enamel. This problem is very frequently seen in children and adults who wear braces. These White areas of decalcification are permanent and can lead to decay if not kept clean.
Treatment of white spots on teeth
Depending on the cause of the white spots, there are a number of different approaches that can help eliminate them.
A thin layer of the surface enamel is removed during the procedure to improve the appearance of your teeth. Microabrasion is often combined with tooth-whitening treatments for a truly high-quality aesthetic result.
Bleach-based teeth whitening can help improve the color of your tooth enamel. For the best and safest results either an in-office whitening procedure or a dentist-supervised take-home kit is recommended. Different bleaching products and whitening toothpaste are also available but may not provide much improvement, and the results may take longer.
Porcelain veneers are custom made thin shells of ceramic material that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They are an excellent option for the teeth that have significant patches of discoloration that can't be eliminated with bleaching alone. A very minimal amount of tooth structure is removed to fit a veneer and the end result is natural-looking teeth that resist future stains.
Is there a way to prevent white spots?
Fluorosis only occurs in developing teeth, therefore children under the age of six can develop these spots. The recommended amount of fluoride should be given. If your tap water is fluoridated, check the fluoride levels and discuss with your dentist. If you or your child wears braces, remind them to brush and floss around the brackets and wires regularly to reduce the risk of white spots ruining the look of their straight teeth after the treatment is over.
Consumption of sugar or acidic foods can cause the bacterial acids to damage your enamel. Follow a well-balanced diet to fulfill all your nutritional requirements and for a healthy smile. If you're pregnant, talk with your obstetrician regarding fluoride intake and any medications that could interfere with your child's developing teeth