January 31, 2015

White Spots on Adult Teeth. What Are They?

Why do some people have white spots on their teeth? Find out why and how to get rid of them.

Questions to Ask

When did you first notice it? Was it always there or is it new?

Is it just on one tooth? Or Many teeth?

Case 1. White Spot on One Tooth

Trauma from Baby Tooth: If the baby tooth has an infection or trauma, it can traumatize the growing adult tooth underneath. As a result, the adult tooth might get a dimple or white spot. The x-ray below shows top front teeth. The adult front teeth start calcifying as early as 3 months of age.

Growing Adult Teeth

Growing Adult Teeth

Case 2. White Spots on Many Teeth

There can be many reasons why your child has white spots on many or all teeth. If the adult teeth came in white spots already on them, birth complications, medical condition or fluorosis may be the cause.

Pregnancy and Birth: Perinatal problems, premature birth, low birth weight, fever and antibiotic use in infancy are related to weak white spots on teeth.

Medical Condition: Some medical conditions can interfere with mineralization process of teeth and present as weak white spots. These conditions include Molar-Incisor Hypomineralization (MIH), Amelogenesis Imperfecta and parathyroid disease.

Fluorosis: Just like any vitamins or minerals, more doesn’t mean better. If you live in British Columbia, Canada, the risk of fluorosis is very low. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers a strict guideline on how much fluoride children can have safely. Ask your pediatric dentist if your child is getting safe amount of fluoride.

Case 3. New White Spots on Many Teeth

If the white spots are new, then it is likely that diet and oral hygiene are not adequate.

Demineralization: Most commonly, white spots are the first visible sign that the teeth are getting weak. Cavities start as white weak spots and then turn brown. Eventually, they become holes in teeth. Below is a picture of my patient who just got her braces off. Do you see the white spots around where braces used to be?

White Spots on Adult Teeth

White Spots on Adult Teeth

Can Your Pediatric Dentist Fix It?          

Remineralize: Special teeth vitamins are applied by a pediatric dentist to make teeth stronger. Two different materials are available. 1) Calcium and Phosphate: they are tooth building minerals and can be applied by the dentist 2) Fluoride: it makes teeth stronger and more resistant to cavity causing bacteria. Teeth that get regular fluoride are more protected from food acidity and less likely to get cavities.

Fillings: If white lesions are deep, then a little filling may be required. Affected area is cleaned and a new perfectly colour matched white filling will be placed.

Crown: If the lesion is big and the teeth are breaking down, a crown is required to protect the whole tooth.

Dr. Ella Choi is a certified specialist in pediatric dentistry serving South Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Aldergrove in Beautiful British Columbia.

“Dr. Ella is a great pediatric dentist. Her staff is very friendly and caring. I had to bring my nervous 6 year old for her first filling. Dr. Ella took the time to explain every step and even showed her how fillings are done on her finger nail. My little girl did so well! We will only see Dr. Ella from now on.” Courtney B.