Have you started to notice white spots on your teeth or your child’s teeth? White spots or discoloration on the teeth can be caused by numerous factors. This can include illnesses and infections, vitamin deficiencies, excess fluoride, and even trauma to the tooth. In many instances, these white spots are not hazardous to the health of your teeth, but they may make you may feel self-conscious. Our local dentists in Clermont can examine your white spots and tooth discoloration in order to determine the best way to improve the appearance of your teeth.
Demineralization or Decalcification
Demineralization, also called decalcification is caused by excessive and long-term bacterial buildup in the mouth. The bacteria can attack sections of the enamel, which weakens it. As the enamel wears away, it can result in white or brown spots on the teeth. Since this type of tooth discoloration can lead to cavities, your dentist will need to examine them at each dental appointment.
Observation is typically recommended for enamel that is being demineralized or decalcified. If there are no cavities, no treatment is needed other than an increase in the frequency of brushing and flossing. For both children and adults, it’s essential to brush the teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day to prevent excess bacteria buildup on the teeth and the enamel. If a cavity does form in the discolored spot, the spot will be filled with a tooth-colored composite.
Enamel Hypoplasia or Turners Tooth
Enamel hypoplasia can cause white or brown spots on the teeth. It’s typically first noticed in childhood but can also appear in adulthood. This condition is caused by numerous factors, including lack of getting the proper nutrients in the diet, high fevers due to illnesses, smoking during pregnancy, and being a premature baby. Enamel hypoplasia can also be caused by some medications and even by trauma to the tooth. It is thought that individuals with enamel hypoplasia may be more prone to tooth decay in the areas of the white spots, for this reason, observation of those spots is often recommended.
If enamel hypoplasia isn’t causing cavities or tooth decay, it doesn’t have to be treated. However, if the individual is self-conscious about the white or brown spots, teeth bleaching or whitening, microabrasion, which involves removing a thin layer of the discolored enamel, and veneers, which are thin wafers bonded onto the affected teeth, can be used to make the spots less noticeable.
Fluorosis is common in children, but if it wasn’t treated when you were a child, you may still have these white spots as an adult. Fluorosis occurs due to excess fluoride exposure. While fluoride helps strengthen the teeth, too much of it can cause small white, brown, or yellow spots. This most commonly occurs when fluoride is ingested from numerous sources, including fluoridated water (most city water contains fluoride), vitamin supplements that contain fluoride, and swallowing fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Treatment for fluorosis can include microabrasion, which removes the discolored area of the enamel, bleaching if the stains that are yellow or brown, or having a porcelain veneer adhered to the surface of the tooth to hide the staining and discoloration.
At our family dentistry in Clermont, our local dentists can examine your teeth to determine the causes of your tooth discoloration and recommend the appropriate treatment. If your teeth are simply stained, a good professional teeth cleaning may be all that is needed. If you have fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia, teeth bleaching, microabrasion, or porcelain veneers may be able to help improve the appearance of your smile. If you have decalcification of your enamel, our dentist can recommend ways to improve your at-home oral hygiene and monitor the spot for cavities.
To schedule your next dental checkup for a teeth cleaning, as well as other services, like teeth whitening and porcelain veneers, give our Clermont family dentistry a call at 352-989-5815 today.