Dental fluorosis is a condition in which the appearance of the tooth enamel is marked by faint white spots or streaks in the teeth. Dental fluorosis may be mild and hardly noticeable, or it may be severe and affect the appearance of your smile.
How does dental fluorosis happen and what can you do about it? Here’s what you need to know about this condition that can impact your smile.
Dental Fluorosis Happens in Childhood
Essentially, dental fluorosis is a hypomineralization of the tooth enamel. This is caused by consuming too much fluoride in childhood while your teeth are still developing.
Dental fluorosis can only affect teeth that are still forming underneath the gumline. Once teeth erupt through the gumline, fluorosis cannot happen. It only happens during the developmental stage, so a risk for dental fluorosis exists until about age 8.
Excessive consumption of flouride could be from any source, including swallowing toothpaste or consuming too much drinking water that’s been treated with fluoride. Your dentist can help you determine the proper amount of fluoride needed for your child—not too much and not too little—to help prevent dental fluorosis in children.
Does Not Affect the Health of Teeth
Dental fluorosis isn’t an oral disease and doesn’t actually affect the health of your teeth. In many cases, the visual effect of dental fluorosis is so subtle that it won’t need treatment. Sometimes the effect of fluorosis can’t be seen by anyone except your dentist during checkups. Other times, the chalky appearance of the white marks on your teeth will be visible to anyone who sees your smile. In this event, you’ll likely want to get your dental fluorosis treated to minimize the appearance.
Treatment for Dental Fluorosis
Although dental fluorosis can be treated, the white marks are permanent and cannot be made to totally go away, although you may be able to minimize or eliminate the appearance of these marks.
You have several treatment options that you can discuss with your dentist, including:
Teeth whitening. This can help remove surface stains and minimize the appearance of your fluorosis, especially if it’s subtle.
Dental bonding. This is a good form of treatment when dental fluorosis is limited to certain areas. Bonding involves using a composite resin that bonds to the tooth enamel to minimize or cover up the appearance of your fluorosis.
Dental crowns. For some patients, this may be the only option to minimize the fluorosis or completely cover it up.
Dental veneers. Veneers are a good option when fluorosis is extreme and is visible to the naked eye. It’s important to discuss this option thoroughly with your dentist, as this treatment is irreversible.
Microabrasion. This involves abrading off the surface layer of the enamel. This will help normalize your appearance but you will lose some enamel in the process.
You may also have the option of combining treatments to effectively treat your dental fluorosis. Regardless of how dental fluorosis has impacted your smile and your confidence, you can talk with your dentist about treatment options to help normalize your smile. Are you ready to minimize the appearance of your fluorosis? Schedule a consultation with your dentist to reveal your beautiful smile!