White Spots on Your Teeth: What are they?


Most people are familiar with occasional yellowing or discoloration of teeth. Yellowing of the teeth is caused by forgetting to brush your teeth often, or by substances like coffee, tobacco, and soft drinks. There are also more serious causes, such as disease, that cause a patient to have discolored teeth.

Occasionally, we come across patients that have white spots on their teeth—this is an issue that doesn’t occur as often, however, the spots on your teeth are sometimes more noticeable. They present with an off-white, yellow, or even brown “mottled” area on your teeth.

The term for this is Enamel Hypoplasia, and is defined as an incomplete or defective formation of the organic enamel of the teeth in the embryonic stage of the tooth. In common terms, there is less enamel than normal. This condition can happen to adults but is more common in children, because of their vulnerable enamel. White spots appear after changes occur in the mineral content in the teeth. This can lead to deterioration of enamel. White spots can also appear with a condition called fluorosis, which means the patient is using too much fluoride.

f you notice white or discolored spots on your teeth, you could have enamel hypoplasia. The condition can appear on one, a few teeth, or multiple. The discoloration can appear in different colors: white, brown, or yellow, and in severe cases, with a rough or pitted surface. While this may be unsightly, it can be more dangerously susceptible to dental cavities, chipping, and tooth sensitivity.

White spots are also common with people who have braces and have trouble properly maintaining dental hygiene, resulting in the buildup of plaque.

Environmental and genetic factors that interfere with tooth formation are thought to be responsible for enamel hypoplasia. These factors can include:

  • Trauma to teeth and jaw

  • Intubation of premature infants

  • Infections during pregnancy (affects the baby’s’ teeth)

  • Nutritional deficiency of vitamin A, C, and D

  • Skin diseases such as measles, chickenpox, scarlet fever

  • Hypocalcemia, which is an in balance in calcium in the body that causes other serious and life threatening issues

  • Infection in the mouth or teeth

  • Hereditary- the trait it can be passed down from family members

How we can help

Depending on how severe the discoloration is, Shane McDowell, DMD can recommend a customized treatment plan to help whiten and even out the color of your teeth. Depending on the severity, treatment options can include a whitening plan, dental bonding, fluoride treatment, and porcelain or crown placement. In severe cases where the tooth is weak and unable to be treated by fluoride or whitening program, a crown or implant may be necessary.

At Shane McDowell, we want to find customized solutions for all of your dental care needs. Our staff is dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients. If you feel that the cosmetic condition of your teeth is holding you back in your daily life, contact us today for a consultation. We can evaluate you and set up a treatment plan. You’ll be smiling brighter in no time!

Call us today, at 239-936-0597, or contact us through our website!

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