A beautiful smile has long been viewed as a sign of health and wellness, and those with terrific smiles tend to feel more self-confident. If you have white spots on your teeth, though, you might feel uncomfortable and reluctant to smile. Fortunately, these spots are both common and easy to treat. Here’s what you should know.
White spots on the teeth can have many causes. Most cases, though, are caused by one of the following:
Fluorosis: Large doses of fluoride that far exceed the recommended amount can discolor tooth enamel in children. Fluoride stains may be brown or yellow, but they are often a chalky-looking white.
Enamel Hypoplasia: Enamel hypoplasia, or deficient tooth enamel, can be caused by many factors, from nutritional deficiencies to premature birth and high fevers in infancy. Enamel hypoplasia staining looks much like fluorosis staining, and often appears as a milky white.
Demineralization: Demineralization of the tooth enamel is relatively common among braces wearers, but it can occur whenever bacterial plaque accumulates on the teeth. It causes milky white spots that look similar to enamel hypoplasia.
There are several different treatments available for white spots on teeth. Which you choose will depend on your budget, the severity of the spots, and your dentist’s recommendations. Some people actually use a combination of different treatments to achieve the best results.
Microabrasion: In microabrasion, the dentist removes the top layer of surface enamel from your teeth. This is highly successful for minor surface spots, and it may be combined with a whitening treatment for even better results.
Teeth Whitening: Whitening toothpastes and over the counter bleaches can help with very minor discoloration. To properly treat white spots, though, it is best to have an in-office whitening treatment or to have your dentist prescribe a take-home whitening kit.
Porcelain Veneers: If you have deep and/or widespread white spots, they may not be fixable with microabrasion or teeth whitening. In this case, porcelain veneers may be the best solution. We will remove less than a millimeter of healthy tooth structure to make room for very thin ceramic shells that slip over your teeth. Extremely natural in appearance, porcelain veneers are highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to future staining. Note that if you only need a few teeth covered with veneers, you might choose to have the rest of your teeth whitened first. We will then color-match your veneers to your new bright white smile.
You can minimize the risk of white spots through good nutrition, keeping an eye on your child’s fluoride intake, and keeping braces scrupulously clean. Still, it is often impossible to avoid all white spots. Fortunately, with a combination of preventive measures and treatments, there is no need for you or child to suffer from the embarrassment of discolored teeth.
Want to Learn More?
If you’re ready to start your journey to better oral health, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 to learn how we can help.
New parents are extremely focused on their baby’s milestones, and keeping an eye out for each new tooth is no exception. If teeth do not emerge when parents expect them, panic can ensue. Fortunately, most of the time, delayed tooth eruption is nothing to worry about. Occasionally, though, an underlying condition could be the reason for delayed tooth eruption. Here is what you should know.
Normal Tooth Eruption
When a baby is born, most of his or her teeth are already formed beneath the gumline. They usually start to come in when the baby is around six months old, starting with the front teeth and moving back from there. By the age of three, almost all children have a full set of 20 baby teeth.
Averages are just that, and most “delays” in tooth eruption actually fall within the wide range of normal. For example, the first tooth comes in “on average” at around six months of age, but anywhere from four months to 15 months is normal. If your child has no teeth at all by the time he or she is 18 months, it is important to visit the dentist for a full assessment.
Causes of Delayed Tooth Eruption
Sometimes delayed tooth eruption is simply due to normal heredity. If one parent or sibling had teeth come in late, the new baby is more likely to have delayed tooth eruption as well. In addition, babies that are premature or of low birthweight tend to get their teeth a bit later than average.
Less common causes of delayed tooth eruption include Down’s Syndrome, hypopituitarism, rickets, nutritional deficiencies, and rare genetic conditions. It is important to rule out these conditions, and to treat them if present, but they do not cause the majority of cases.
Is Delayed Tooth Eruption Harmful?
Delayed tooth eruption is not serious, but it does increase the risk that your child may need orthodontic work. In fact, children with delayed tooth eruption are 35 percent more likely to need orthodontic care before their 30th birthday. This appears to be the only real risk, though, of delayed tooth eruption that is not associated with an underlying health condition.
New parents tend to panic at any variation from the “typical” development schedule, but individual differences are actually quite normal. Have your child checked by a dentist if she has no teeth by 18 months of age, and otherwise try not to worry.
As a precaution, all children should be assessed for orthodontic issues in early childhood, and those whose teeth erupted late are at higher risk for orthodontic trouble. In most cases, though, delayed tooth eruption is simply due to individual variances and is not likely to lead to future issues. When the baby teeth do arrive, be sure to brush them carefully!
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.