What Your Puyallup Cosmetic Dentist Wants You To Know About White Spots On Your Teeth
Some people see the big, fluffy white snowflakes outside in Puyallup this winter and are reminded of the white spots on their teeth. There are several potential causes for those spots – as well as ways to treat them with your Puyuallup cosmetic dentistry practice’s help.
How old are your white spots?
The main way to tell what your white spots ‘mean’ for your oral health is to assess how old they are. If you’ve had them since you were a child, chances are you have fluorosis. If you had too much fluoride as a child as your teeth were developing below the gum surface, your enamel production may have been disrupted. Once the teeth erupted, subtle markings may be visible – including streaks and stripes. Erupted (adult) teeth are not susceptible to fluoride.
If fluorosis is ruled out but you’ve still had marks on your adult teeth throughout your life, there are other potential causes. No matter what the cause – illness or disruptions are two examples – the impact on your teeth happens while they are being mineralized and before they’ve erupted. This chronic discoloration is typically referred to as hypoplasia or hypocalcification.
However, if the white spots are ‘new’ and appear after your adult teeth have come in, they may signal that your enamel is being attacked by acid-producing bacteria. Before your decay turns into full-blown cavities, the earliest sign of infection is usually subtle white spots. While it’s optimistic to think you’ll be able to halt cavities by keeping an eye out for these spots, keep in mind that many cavities form in the crevices between teeth – a spot which only your Puyallup cosmetic dentist can properly assess at your regularly-scheduled checkups. However, if you do happen to notice a new mark on your tooth, be sure to visit your cosmetic dentistry clinic to have it looked at more closely.
How can I treat my fluorosis or hypoplasia white spots?
If your Puyallup dentist identifies that your white spots are not the result of decay, you have several cosmetic dentistry options. If your marks are subtle, a round of teeth whitening may be enough to minimize their appearance. More severe cases on a select number of teeth – your two front teeth are often the most dramatically impacted – may be treated with bonding or crowns, which are caps that sit on top of an existing tooth and are colored to perfectly match your existing teeth. However, if your entire mouth is impacted by severe fluorosis or hypoplasia, you may want to look into porcelain veneers that lie right on top of your existing teeth and give you a bright and glowing smile.
What if I’ve recently removed my braces and am seeing white spots?
The enamel underneath your braces is ‘protected’ from bacteria that can otherwise cause markings. Sometimes patients will see faint outlines of where their braces were, because their ‘unprotected’ teeth have still be fighting off bacteria for the duration of your orthodontic treatment. Your best bet to treat white spots from braces are professional teeth whitening treatments issued by your Puyallup cosmetic dentist.
What if my white spots signal decay?
If you are visiting your Puyallup cosmetic dentistry clinic at least twice per year and receiving regular x-rays, you should be able to catch decay before it progresses. However, if you notice a new, prominent white spot or if you are feeling sensitivity around that particular tooth, then you may want to schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist as soon as possible. They will help identify whether you have a cavity, and your choices for treating it, including fillings, root canals or crowns.