When we think of spots on our teeth, we often think of dark spots that might indicate spots of tooth decay. However, it’s also possible to find white spots on your teeth. Some of these spots don’t indicate a problem, but others require a trip to your family dentist.
Causes of White Spots on the Teeth
White spots on the teeth can be traced to the development of the teeth while they’re still embedded in the jawbone. These spots can be found on permanent teeth as well as baby teeth. The two main causes of this type of discoloration are hypoplasia or hypocalcification. It’s not known exactly what triggers these conditions, but it has to do with how the teeth originally form. It’s believed that trauma to the developing teeth can lead to white spots, as can exposure to excessive amounts of fluoride during development.
Hypocalcification is the less serious of these two conditions. These white spots occur most often on the first permanent molars, which arrive at about six years old, and the first two permanent teeth in the front. They are generally not indicative of a weakness or problem with the tooth.
By contrast, hypoplasia is characterized by abnormally weak enamel. Teeth are more likely to develop cavities. In some cases, the enamel chips very easily or even crumbles. Teeth with hypoplasia are often misshapen. The white spots associated with hypoplasia are much more serious and require treatment in order to preserve the teeth.
Treatment for White Spots
Hypocalcification requires no treatment in most cases. However, if you feel self-conscious about visible white spots, you can talk to your family dentist about cosmetic treatment. Bleaching, veneers, or composite fillings can help reduce the appearance of white spots.
With hypoplasia, treatment is required to protect the teeth and replace any enamel that might be lost. Your family dentist can provide recommendations, including temporary or permanent crowns, composite fillings to replace lost or very soft enamel, and eventual crowns or veneers. These procedures can all be performed in the dental office once you and your dentist, Dr. Daniel Bush, decide upon the most appropriate course of treatment.