Here's What You Can Do About Those White Spots On Your Teeth

Many people aim to get pearly white teeth, but sometimes whiteness on teeth can indicate a problem. Specifically, if white spots start appearing on your teeth, you may be suffering from a condition called hypocalcification. Here's more information about this oral health issue, and what can be done to treat it.

About Hypocalcification

The enamel on teeth helps protect the pulp and nerves from bacteria and other environmental elements in the mouth. It is composed of a variety of minerals that keeps it strong and functional. Although enamel itself doesn't grow back once it's lost, it does continue to remineralize itself at regular intervals to maintain its health.

Unfortunately, several things can interfere with the process and cause teeth to lose mineral content. This includes having dry mouth. Saliva is important for washing away the acidic wastes produced by bacteria. Acidic foods and drinks can also leach minerals from the teeth and impede their ability to remineralize. Acid reflux, plaque, Celiac disease, ingestion of excessive fluoride, some brands of whitening strips, and some genetic disorders are also associated with the development of hypocalcification.

Treatment Options

In general, hypocalcification is not harmful to teeth on its own. However, failure to treat it can lead to cavities because it can provide bacteria easier access to the tooth's interior. This, in turn, can result in tooth loss. It's important to note, though, you should work to resolve the underlying cause of the problem at the same time; otherwise, the treatment options may fail or the problem will simply recur on the same or other teeth.

The best treatment depends on the severity of the problem. In the beginning stages, the dentist may try to mineralize the spots using a special paste containing calcium and phosphate. The paste bonds to the teeth and delivers minerals to the affected areas to help strengthen them and eliminate the problem.

Another thing the dentist may do is remove the spot using a process called microabrasion and fill in the newly exposed area with a resin that protects it from bacterial invasion. Whether this is a good option depends on where the white spots are located on the tooth and their size. If they are large or positioned near the bottom of the teeth, the dentist may employ other options—such as putting a cap on the tooth or covering it with a veneer—to avoid weakening the structure by removing too much enamel or disturbing your teeth's aesthetic by taking enamel from an inopportune place.

There may be other treatment options for dealing with white spots on your teeth. Contact a cosmetic dentist for more information.