Some people have teeth that are streaked or spotted with areas that are whiter than the rest of the teeth. These areas can have a chalky appearance and may be subtle or obvious. These white spots are a sign of dental fluorosis.
The severity of dental fluorosis varies and while many people won’t have their appearance
dramatically affected, others will. What exactly is dental fluorosis and what can you do about it?
Why Fluorosis Happens
Fluorosis happens when a person is exposed to too much fluoride as a child while the teeth are still developing. This fluoride could be from any source, whether it be drinking water or toothpaste with fluoride. Fluorosis usually presents as white spots on the teeth.
Once the teeth have erupted through the gum tissue, it’s no longer possible to get dental
fluorosis . The change is exclusive to teeth that are still developing beneath the gumline, so usually the risk for fluorosis decreases once the permanent teeth begin to come in.
Available Treatments for Fluorosis
Once fluorosis happens, there’s no way to stop its effect on teeth. However, there are several available treatments for fluorosis that can help minimize or eliminate its appearance on your smile.
These treatments include a professional teeth whitening, microabrasion, and dental veneers. For people who have mild fluorosis, teeth whitening can help reduce its appearance and may be the only treatment you need.
Microabrasion is a procedure your experienced dentist can perform that can help people who have more obvious fluorosis or white spots that won’t respond to a professional whitening.
During microabrasion, a small amount of tooth enamel is removed to restore the appearance of the teeth. Most dentists will use a fluoride treatment afterward to ensure tooth sensitivity is kept to a minimum following the procedure.
If the appearance of your dental fluorosis is severe or doesn’t respond to teeth whitening, you may opt for dental veneers. Dental veneers can cover the teeth affected by fluorosis and give you a new, brighter smile that permanently masks your fluorosis and looks natural.
You can help prevent fluorosis in children, but once the permanent teeth are in, you’ll need to rely on professional dental treatment to improve the appearance of fluorosis.
To prevent this condition, ensuring your child gets the right amount of fluoride is best. You can talk to your dentist about your child’s fluoride exposure to determine if it’s appropriate for their age and health. Remember, the American Dental Association doesn’t recommend using fluoride toothpaste for children until they reach the age of two .
Your dentist can talk more with you about what’s best for your child to help prevent fluorosis from occurring.
Do You Have Fluorosis?
Do you have white spots on your teeth that have a somewhat chalky appearance? You don’t have to live with these spots and can receive dental treatment to help minimize their appearance on your smile. Schedule a consultation with your dentist today to discuss treatment for your dental fluorosis!