In many cases, white teeth are a sign of good oral health and a beautiful smile. Keeping your teeth white often involves good dental care and healthy habits such as brushing your teeth, flossing, rinsing, and visiting your family dentist in Ballantyne, NC regularly for cleanings and exams.
However, sometimes white discolorations can appear on the teeth. In some cases, white spots can be a cause of concern, and other times they are just a cosmetic annoyance. It is important to determine the underlying cause before determining the appropriate treatment.
Read on to learn more about white spots on teeth, the causes, and possible treatment options.
What Are White Spots on Your Teeth?
White spots or discolorations can develop over time. They are a form of decalcification that involves the loss of minerals in the teeth due to acids from bacteria.
The shade of white is different from the rest of your teeth. The discolorations may look like blotches or spots giving the teeth a speckled appearance. Since there are various causes, it is important to see your dentist first to assess the underlying cause before moving forward with treatment.
Common Causes of White Spots
There are several possible reasons you may have white spots or stains on your teeth disrupting the appearance of your smile.
Fluoride helps strengthen the teeth to prevent cavities and decay. However, too much fluoride can be damaging too. The result is decay and discoloration.
Fluorosis is common in children. This occurs during the first eight years of life when the permanent teeth are still developing and have not yet erupted. This condition is caused by children getting too much fluoride through over-consumption of fluoridated beverages or swallowing fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.
When the permanent teeth come in, they appear mildly discolored. In more severe cases, fluorosis causes pitted enamel which makes the teeth harder to clean leading to decay and more obvious discolorations.
When a patient has less enamel than normal, he or she has enamel hypoplasia. This refers to a defect in the primary or permanent teeth.
Enamel hypoplasia may present itself in one of two ways. First, the physical structure of the teeth may be lacking in quality. This shows up as pits or grooves in the tooth.
The second possibility is hypomineralization. This is caused by decreased mineral content in the enamel leading to a translucent appearance in the tooth or soft enamel. Conditions such as celiac disease, a weakened immune system, or antibiotics can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb minerals.
If bacterial plaque builds up on the teeth, it can lead to teeth stains and discolorations. Our mouths are great hosts where bacteria can thrive. Without good dental care and oral health habits, bacteria can get out of control. White spots from plaque accumulation are often the result of poor dental habits.
This can also show up when braces are removed. Plaque can accumulate under and around the actual bracket. The inability to clean thoroughly around the brackets and under wires can lead to demineralization of the tooth and the appearance of white spots.
In addition, to the reasons listed above, white spots on the teeth can be caused by poor diet and nutrition. A diet high in acidic foods can eat away at the tooth enamel. Sugary foods cause the formation of acidic plaque which erodes the enamel as well. Along with white spots, patients may notice that tooth sensitivity as the enamel breaks down.
Sleeping with your mouth open can also lead to white spots. In these cases, you may notice white spots on your teeth when you wake up in the morning. The spots are caused by dehydration of the enamel. This is common when individuals are sick or sleep with their mouths open. As soon as saliva or water hits the teeth, the enamel is rehydrated and the spots disappear.
How to Get Rid of White Spots
Treatment for White Spots
Once your dentist has determined the cause of your white spots, the two of you can discuss the dental treatments that meet your needs and budget.
Cosmetic Dentistry in Ballantyne
Cosmetic dental services are great options to get rid of white spots or teeth stains. Popular procedures to treat discolorations include teeth whitening, dental veneers, and cosmetic bonding.
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment. It is a quick, easy way to dramatically improve your smile. When it comes to discolored teeth, bleaching or whitening treatments reduce the appearance of white spots or other stains. The overall color evens out and brightens.
Professional teeth whitening is done under your dentist’s care and involves a high-quality product which produces better results than over-the-counter commercial teeth bleaching products. Professional treatments include in-office procedures or take-home whitening trays for a brighter smile.
Porcelain dental veneers are another option to cover teeth stains. This is a great option for patients who have significant discoloration or additional dental imperfections to address. Veneers can cover a single tooth or an entire arch for a smile makeover.
Dental veneers are made of ultra-thin shells of porcelain which are adhered to the front of the teeth to change the appearance. They may be used to address stained, chipped, broken, and misaligned teeth.
With dental bonding, a malleable tooth-colored material is used to address dental imperfections, including stains or spots on the teeth. This brief procedure is usually completed in a single visit. The tooth is etched so the resin material is able to bond better. The material is sculpted into shape and hardened with a special light. Cosmetic dental bonding is an affordable option to correct small dental imperfections.
Contact Aten & Garofalo Dentistry
If you are plagued by white spots on stains on your teeth, contact Aten & Garofalo Dentistry in Ballantyne. Our dental team can create a customized treatment plan based on your unique needs and the cosmetic services best suited to your situation.
At Aten & Garofalo, we strive to help patients achieve the smiles of their dreams. We offer comprehensive general and cosmetic dentistry for the whole family.