3 minute read

White Spots on Adult Teeth. What Are They?

Do you ever wonder why some people have white spots on their teeth? Let’s explore the reasons behind these spots and how to eliminate them. I’m here to provide you with a more pediatric dentist-friendly explanation so it’s easier to understand. First, let’s ask a few questions to help us determine the cause.

When did you first notice the white spots?

Have they always been there, or are they new? Are the spots present on just one tooth or many teeth? Let’s look at different cases to understand the various possibilities:

Case 1: White Spot on One Tooth

If there’s a white spot on only one tooth, it could be due to trauma or infection in the baby tooth. Sometimes, such issues can affect the developing adult tooth underneath, resulting in a dimple or white spot. It’s essential to note that the front adult teeth start forming as early as three months of age.

Case 2: White Spots on Many Teeth

When your child has white spots on many or all of their teeth, there can be several reasons for this:

  • Pregnancy and Birth: Complications during pregnancy or birth, premature birth, low birth weight, fever, or antibiotic use in infancy can lead to weak white spots on teeth.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain conditions can interfere with the mineralization process of teeth and cause weak white spots. Examples include Molar-Incisor Hypomineralization (MIH), Amelogenesis Imperfecta, and parathyroid disease.
  • Fluorosis: It’s important to remember that more doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to vitamins or minerals. In areas like British Columbia, Canada, the risk of fluorosis is generally low. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry provides strict guidelines on safe fluoride intake for children. It’s always a good idea to consult your pediatric dentist to ensure your child receives appropriate fluoride.

Case 3: New White Spots on Many Teeth

If the white spots are new, likely, your child’s diet and oral hygiene practices aren’t sufficient.

Demineralization: White spots often indicate the initial stages of teeth weakening. Cavities usually begin as white spots and then turn brown before eventually forming holes. For instance, patients who recently got their braces off may notice white spots around where the braces used to be. You might be wondering if your pediatric dentist can fix these white spots. Let’s explore some possible solutions:

Remineralization: Pediatric dentists can apply special teeth vitamins to strengthen the teeth. Two common materials are calcium and phosphate, essential minerals for tooth development. Another option is fluoride, which enhances tooth strength and makes them more resistant to cavity-causing bacteria. Regular fluoride treatments offer increased protection against acidic foods and reduce the risk of cavities.

Fillings: A small filling might be necessary if the white lesions are deep. The affected area is cleaned, and a perfectly color-matched white filling is placed.

Crown: In cases where the lesion is significant, and the teeth are deteriorating, a crown is required to safeguard the entire tooth.

Schedule A Dental Cleaning!

Remember, I’m Dr. Ella Choi, a certified specialist in pediatric dentistry, serving South Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Aldergrove in Beautiful British Columbia. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s oral health, please get in touch with me. I hope this revised explanation helps you better understand why some people have white spots on their teeth and how we can address them.