Help! I Have White Spots on My Teeth!
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.