What causes white spots on teeth?
Are these white spots, marks, stains, patches, blotches, flecks, deposits, or dots on teeth a cosmetic or health issue?
On a popular online health forum, one anxious lady writes:
“I have two white stains on one of my front teeth and one on the other front tooth. What can I do to get rid of them? They seem to get worse, or brighter, when I brush. Any advice? Please, nothing outrageous!”
It’s not surprising this woman is concerned. If she’s like most women, she smiles about 62 times a day (far more than the average man who musters a meager 8 smiles a day).
So, naturally, she’s probably quite conscious about what people see when she smiles.
White spots, especially on front teeth, are quite common.
You may know someone who has them, or you may even have them on your own teeth.
White spots on teeth are ordinarily a loss of mineral content on the surface of the teeth (the enamel).
Dentists refer to this loss as hypocalcification, and they call the white spots that result from this loss hypoplasia.
Besides being a cosmetic concern for many people, this problem can actually result in the deterioration of teeth.
In fact, your dentist may tell you that the first evidence of tooth decay is a white spot lesion... meaning your tooth's enamel will have an opaque color in the spot where the cavity is starting to form.
Since there are several different causes for these white spots., It’s best to have your dentist examine your teeth when you first notice them appearing so he or she can try to determine why you are developing them. Here are some of the major causes of white spots on teeth:
young children often can have white spots on teeth,
but for other reasons. They’re commonly referred to as toddler tooth
discoloration and can be caused by illness, medications, exposure to
certain minerals, ingesting too much fluoride, tooth decay, poor oral
hygiene, and from eating certain foods. Visiting a dentist can tell you for sure.
Many people attempt a do-it-yourself solution at home by using one of several tooth whitening systems. But this can be a mistake.
happens is that the whitening product will not only whiten your teeth,
but the white spot as well. And that will only make them
Your best bet is to see your dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, consume less acidic food and drink and take care of your oral hygiene.
What your dentist can do depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the white spots, their cause, the deterioration of your enamel, or the overall number of white spots on teeth.
It's better to visit a dentist when you first see signs of white spots and avoid more problems down the line.
If your situation is one that’s easily corrected, one of the most common treatments is called micro-abrasion.
Your dentist performs micro-abrasion by using a course diamond bevel to mechanically remove the spot before applying resin over the treated area.
In some cases, your dentist may have to follow this treatment with bleaching to improve the results.
On the other hand, if your white spots are large or if you have many white spots, micro-abrasion may not be the best option.
In that case, your dentist
may refer you to a cosmetic dentist, who will either recommend capping
the teeth, using a white filling, or applying a porcelain veneer.
Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Gulizio states that he uses a fairly new treatment in his practice involving micro air-abrasion or etchant on the tooth surface followed by a daily application of amorphous calcium phosphate every day for two weeks.
This treatment may result in either
complete elimination of the white spots or only minor improvement. If
the latter is the case, then he repeats the same treatment. He contends
that by the end of the second treatment, the white spots should
If the white spots indicate you have a mineral deficiency or breakdown of your tooth’s enamel, your dentist may recommend a fluoride topical rinse, which may heal any soft white spots. This is different from the effects of fluoride that is consumed.
Your dentist or orthodontist can also recommend specially formulated tooth pastes or gels that help re-mineralize tooth enamel.
They work much better at reducing plaque than a manual toothbrush.
Your dentist or orthodontist may also recommend a WaterPik to help remove debris from the hidden crevices behind the braces and massage your gums.
At my home we use an electric toothbrush and a Waterpik. We've had excellent dental check ups for years.
Should you have a white spot on your tooth, get a dental check-up as soon as you can.
If your white spots aren’t serious and are more of a cosmetic issue, your dentist may want to keep an eye on them during your regular visits.
on the other hand, they’re serious enough that the tooth enamel is
highly susceptible to a cavity or might begin to break, you may need a
crown. Or, if it’s merely a small area that’s decayed, a small white
filling should do the trick.
If the white spots are on your front teeth with no evident decay, then there’s the micro-abrasion/bleaching process. Of course, if your front tooth or teeth are more severely affected, you may require a white filling or a porcelain veneer.
In some cases, white spots are merely a cosmetic nuisance that mar our smiles and make us self-conscious. But in many instances they can also be a sign of something more serious. If you notice a white spot on your tooth, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as you can.
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