As dentists, one of the most common issues patients come to us with is discoloration. We all hope to achieve a bright and even smile. Stains can often cause insecurity that prevents people from being confident in their smiles. Not only are white spots and stains a cosmetic concern for many people, but they can also be a sign of a deeper issue.
We know that teeth can become discolored over time. It’s common to see yellow or brownish splotches pop up for a variety of reasons. But have you noticed that sometimes spots that appear white can also stain the surface of your teeth? We’re here to tell you all about what causes white spots, and what to do about them.
What causes white spots?
While white spots are a common occurrence, it’s not always easy to tell what caused them. There are a number of different factors that go into discoloration of the teeth, from lifestyle habits to more serious structural issues. Here are a few of the most likely causes:
Demineralization occurs when the mineral content of your teeth becomes compromised. For example, insufficient calcium content in your teeth reduces the strength of your enamel and leaves you vulnerable to bacteria. Small white spots caused by demineralization are often a sign of the early stages of decay.
White spots on the surface of your teeth can also be a sign of dental fluorosis. This occurs when the teeth are exposed to too much fluoride during early tooth development. For this reason, dental fluorosis usually occurs in children under eight. Fortunately, most cases of fluorosis are not dangerous or painful, but it’s still a good idea to consult your dentist and adjust fluoride levels if needed.
The enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that protects them from damage and decay. Enamel hypoplasia causes a weakened enamel, which often results in white spots. Like dental fluorosis, it primarily affects children while their teeth are still developing.
In some cases, white spots can be a sign of decay of the tooth’s structure. When the damage is extensive, the enamel may thin to the point that the dentin (part of the inner structure of the tooth) becomes visible due to exposure to bacteria. Because this part of the tooth hasn’t been exposed to staining agents, it will appear white in the early stages of decay.
How are white spots different from dark tooth stains?
Of course, white spots aren’t the only kind of discoloration that can be found on the teeth. It’s not uncommon for people to notice dark streaks and splotches forming in their smile. But how are these dark spots different from white spots?
In most cases, white spots occur due to a more structural issue, such as lack of minerals or over-exposure to acidic foods that wreak havoc on your enamel. Dark spots on the other hand, are usually a result of external staining. Consuming certain products like coffee or tobacco can begin to change the hue of your teeth and promote plaque production, leading to decay and discoloration.
How can you prevent white spots?
One of the most common causes of white spots is a lack of calcium. Calcium is vital to the health and strength of your teeth. Therefore, consuming enough calcium-rich foods and drinks like milk, cheese, and leafy greens will help to ward off white splotches. Avoiding acidic foods that wear down your enamel will also help prevent white spots.
Proper dental hygiene
White spots are more likely to appear when there is a buildup of excess plaque. If you’re concerned about preventing discoloration, be sure to practice daily dental care such as brushing, flossing, and using a gentle mouthwash. These behaviors will not only keep your smile bright and even, but they will also go a long way in maintaining general oral health and preventing disease.
It’s also important to make time for professional dental cleanings every six months to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
How can we treat white spots?
Luckily, if you’re dealing with white spots that won’t fade, there are a number of professional treatment options that can even out your smile. It’s always recommended that you visit our offices to not only address your aesthetic concerns but also to determine the cause of these stains to create a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.
Most people wish they had a whiter smile, and having spots and stains on your teeth can take a toll on your confidence. One of the best and most convenient ways to lessen the appearance of white spots is whitening. Here at Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles, our 3D imaging technology will craft whitening trays customized specifically for you. This method allows you to get the perfect trays without the mess or hassle and gives patients transformative and long-lasting results.
For patients who struggle with persistent or severe staining and are looking for a more permanent solution, cosmetic veneers are an excellent option. Veneers are installed by removing a small amount of the tooth’s enamel and placing a shell over what remains, creating a seamless, bright, and attractive smile. With our advanced technology, you’ll get an ideal and natural-looking smile. Our array of sedative options will ensure an easy and pain-free experience.
For those who want the beautiful results of veneers, but aren’t quite ready to commit to such a permanent procedure, Lumineers are the ideal solution! Lumineers are ultra-thin, giving you the same durable, beautiful results, without having to remove any of your enamel. Lumineers are a one-time, comfortable procedure that will give you sophisticated and natural results.
Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles is here to provide you the best in dental care!
Our staff at Sedation Dentistry of Sunny Isles is eager to provide you with comprehensive and compassionate care. Whether you’re looking to even out your smile, suffering from dental pain or discomfort, or just in need of a cleaning, we have the technology, experience, and expertise to give you the results you deserve.