When we see our own smile in the mirror, we can get caught up in its imperfections. We’re all beautiful when we smile, but in many cases, improving our smile does wonders to help boost our self-confidence. Have you noticed any tiny white spots on your teeth? That’s an imperfection that bothers many people all over the world. White spots in your tooth enamel can be a complex problem to diagnose, yet there are several excellent treatment options.
In many cases, these white spots are a form of acute discoloration called decalcification. Nearly everyone develops white spots to some degree over their lifetime. The process of decalcification starts with bacteria that gets onto your teeth, eventually forming acids. The acids destroy minerals like calcium and phosphorus, important elements for the tooth structure. This decalcification process, also called demineralization, dissolves the tooth enamel, leaving white marks on teeth.
Most causes of white spots lead to acids developing and wearing down the tooth enamel. Cause of the process include:
- Poor Habits While Wearing Braces: With poor oral hygiene and eating habits while wearing braces, bacteria gets on the teeth and the demineralization process occurs, creating white spots that will become visible when your braces are removed by the orthodontist.
- Medications: Certain medications, including antibiotics, impact the building of tooth enamel, especially in children. This process makes it easier for bacteria to do its damaging work on your teeth.
- Excessive Fluoride (Fluorosis): Fluorosis means that your mouth has been exposed to an excessive amount of fluoride. Kids can develop it from swallowing fluoride toothpaste, drinking too much water than contains fluoride, and ingesting particular medications. Fluorosis results in enamel hypoplasia that can discolor teeth and cause deep grooves in them as well.
- Eating a low calcium, high acid diet: Our bodies need calcium and so do our teeth. Keep them healthy by eating calcium-rich foods regularly. At the same time, avoid highly acidic foods as a condition they can cause, acid reflux, produces more acid that can dissolve enamel. Too much sugar in the diet is a common culprit, too.
- High Fevers and Hydration: Dry mouth can cause white spots by damaging teeth. High fevers, an ailment more common to children than adults, can cause dehydration and a dry mouth. Staying hydrated is key during this time.
How Can I Get Rid of My White Spots?
Now that you know what causes white spots, you may wonder how to remove them or make them less noticeable. The dental field has come a long way in solving cosmetic problems such as this. First, you must understand that a white spot is NOT removable. You can not wash it away or scratch it off. It’s a lesion on your tooth. The loss of enamel is an indication of tooth decay that can’t be reversed.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t change the appearance of white spots on teeth by one of several methods. Which method will work for you? First stop: the dentist’s office.
Your dentist will examine your white spots for the following characteristics:
- Enamel deterioration
- Number of spots
- Whether you have cavities to treat
Treating cavities comes before minimizing the appearance of white spots. Determining the cause will involve interviewing you for possible lifestyle factors such as medications and eating habits so that you can make possible changes. Not only does this help to determine causes for white spots, it gives you clues on how to avoid losing more enamel and gaining more white spots in the future. Your dentist will then go over options with you. Some of the options available include:
- Enamel Microabrasion: This treatment can be used when the damage is easy to fix. The dentist will use specialized tools to remove the discolored enamel, or the white spots, of your teeth without using chemicals.
- White Filling Application: For certain situations, placing a white filling over the lesion improves its appearance.
- Capping: Your dentist may choose to apply a cap to a tooth or teeth if it will work well to cover the white spots and not present further harm to the tooth or teeth. The world will see the cap, not the spots.
- Porcelain Veneer Application: Extremely thin tooth coverings, or veneers, are made to fit your teeth and cover them, hiding any spots and stains. The process usually takes multiple visits to the dentist for consultation, fitting, and application.
- Whitening: Dentists can lighten the entire surfaces of your teeth through the whitening process. This helps white spots blend in with the resulting lightened tooth color. Dentists offer one-visit in-office whitening services that use gel that brightens the enamel and the dentin of the teeth.
This provides the best teeth whitening option for long-lasting results. Many dentists also offer take-home kits that utilize trays that you fill with a provided bleach solution and use each day for a specified time period. The trays are made to fit your mouth, so this method may involve a couple visits for fitting, pick up, and follow-up.
If you have any questions about cosmetic dentistry procedures, contact Carrie Muzny DDS & Associates to find out more about how to get your perfect smile.
How Can I Get Treatments?
When you notice white spots on your teeth, make an appointment with your preferred dentist. You will want to find out if you have any cavities forming and to find out what your best options are. Your dentist will do an exam, discuss the causes, and make recommendations for treatment and future spot prevention. From there, you can decide on your path and make appointments for future visits to improve your smile.
Carrie Muzny DDS & Associates offers a Smile Virtual Consult to help you with initial concerns on your smile and teeth white spots from the comfort and safety of your home. You can send in photos of your smile with notes of your issues and goals in making an improved smile. Our expert dentists review your submission and send a personalized video to you with information and options. This helps you manage your time and limit your trips out of the home in these trying times. Click HERE to get started with our Smile Virtual Consult.
Carrie Muzny DDS & Associates have extensive experience in helping patients improve their smile and to get rid of unsightly white spots. Dr. Muzny and her staff provide trusted, high-quality dental treatment in a caring and comfortable environment.
Can I Prevent Future White Spot Development?
You may be able to avoid the further development of white spots on your teeth, depending on the cause of the problem. Consult your preferred dentist on a possible cause for your tooth discoloration and to get a plan of action.
Generally speaking, use fluoride but don’t overdo it by swallowing toothpaste or drinking an overabundance of fluoridated water. Eat healthy foods regularly, especially foods that are high in calcium like almonds and leafy greens. Avoid highly acidic foods, watching out for sugary foods, sodas, fruit juices and high-carbohydrate items. Stay hydrated and, if a medication is causing discoloration, ask your medical doctor if there are alternatives that don’t exacerbate the white spot issue as a side effect.
Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and treatment. Make sure to get treatment promptly for dental problems as they arise. Don’t wait!
At home, follow good dental hygiene by flossing your teeth at least 4-5 times a week and brushing twice daily along with any other specific additional guidelines recommended by the dentist or hygienist.
If you’re doing your best to protect your teeth and you look in the mirror still to find white spots on your teeth, don’t fret. Carrie Muzny DDS & Associates, your Woodlands cosmetic dentist, can diagnose your dental problems, provide top-notch painless dentistry treatments, and help get you to your bright new smile. Contact us to find out how to achieve your dream smile!