Why Do My Teeth Have White Spots?

White spots on teeth can occur for several reasons. Those which develop prior to the tooth erupting into the mouth are called developmental defects whilst those which appear after the tooth has erupted are referred to as demineralisation lesions.

Development defects occur during the mineralisation or formation of the tooth crown.

  • Hypomineralisation – occurs as a result of environmental disturbances during tooth development. Common causes include maternal smoking and illness, low birth weight, birth complications, childhood respiratory diseases, Vitamin D deficiency, infection and trauma of baby teeth.
  • Dental Fluorosis – occurs as a result of excessive fluoride ingestion during tooth formation resulting in subsurface opaque spots. In more severe cases enamel surface pitting and secondary brown staining is seen.

Example of hypomineralisation

Example of Fluorosis

Demineralisation lesions develop once the crown of the tooth has erupted and are caused by poor oral hygiene. Lesions often have a chalky white appearance and are commonly seen in hard to clean areas such as: orthodontic brackets, between teeth and at the gumline of teeth.

Example of Demineralisation Lesions

Do White Spots Need Treatment?

Not all white spot lesions require treatment. Developmental defects often only require treatment if they become an aesthetic concern or more severe with enamel pitting. These teeth can be more sensitive to temperature and at an increased risk of developing decay which may require preventive measures are often prescribed to manage sensitivity and prevent decay.

Demineralisation spots require intervention to prevent the lesions progressing into a cavity. Early decay spots are treated through diet and lifestyle modification, meticulous oral hygiene and use of remineralisation toothpastes, mouth rinses and varnishes.

Example of White Spot Treatment

Can White Spots be Removed?

Multiple treatment options are available to correct white spot lesions. The best treatment is often determined by the location, size and depth of the lesion. Superficial spots can usually be corrected with enamel abrasion or resin infiltration. Deeper lesions may require a tooth-coloured restoration to mask the defect and in severe cases, porcelain veneers or crowns may be required.

Get in touch with us if you would like to discuss correcting white spot lesions.

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