July 28, 2016
What exactly are these white spots? How did I get them?
White spot lesions are clinically referred to as decalcification or demineralization. They are porosities under the surface of the tooth that is produced by dental plaque.
These undesirable white, chalky marks appear when the acids produced by plaque removes the minerals from the tooth surface and altering the way it reflects light making them appear opaque.
Yes, white spots are completely avoidable. There are three main treatment types including,
Plaque removal is the ONLY sure way to prevent white spot lesions. You can reduce the amount of plaque buildup by brushing and flossing regularly and avoid foods with high acidic content.
While plaque removal is the most effective way to avoid white spots, dentists are also using fluoride pastes to try and harden the enamel surface. This, in theory, will make the teeth strong enough to resist the acids.
Dentists are also using sealants in an attempt to help patients avoid white spots. Just like the fluoride treatment, however, it is not nearly as effective as brushing, flossing and eating correctly.
All white spots improve somewhat over time and minor ones may disappear altogether without any intervention.
In fact, dentists advise against applying extra fluoride during the first six months or so because it can seal the surface of the tooth and prevent remineralization below the surface.
If, after six months, you are no longer seeing progress, a low concentration over-the-counter fluoride rinse or remineralization paste can be applied.
Absolutely! Whitening has been shown to lighten the enamel surrounding white spots and open the “pores” allowing them to heal. Immediately, the white spots will blend in better and, over time, the spots will improve as the effects of the bleaching wear off.
For more severe white spots, your dentist may suggest a micro abrasion, a procedure that removes superficial white spots, a cosmetic bonding which replaces damaged enamel, or porcelain veneers.