Photograph of a young woman looking at her teeth in the mirror unhappily while rubbing them with her finger.

White Spots on Teeth: What They Are and What to Do About Them

Scott Oral Health

Have you noticed white spots on your teeth or your child’s teeth? They are usually nothing to worry about, but it’s still best to let your dentist know if you notice them. In most cases they are merely cosmetic and can be corrected. 

Wondering where they came from? There are a few different possible causes for these spots that may actually surprise you.


Causes of White Spots on Teeth:


Excess Fluoride.


While fluoride is good for your teeth, too much can be a problem, especially for kids. Childrens’ bodies are not able to process an excess of fluoride, and it can cause a condition called fluorosis, where fluoride deposits on the teeth form white spots. These spots can remain on permanent teeth into adulthood.


Bacteria.


When bacteria start to erode teeth it can cause white spots, which are the beginnings of cavities.


Nutrition.


Deficiencies in nutrition, especially calcium, can cause white spots to form on teeth where there is a lack of fortification in the tooth enamel.


Medication.


Some medications, mostly antibiotics, can cause white spots on teeth. Certain antibiotics are not approved for children for this reason.



Smoking while pregnant.


When a pregnant mother smokes it can affect the development of the baby in her womb, and that includes teeth. The baby can be born with white spots on the teeth as a result.


High Fever.


When children experience high fevers it can cause a loss of minerals in the teeth. It can even lead to hypoplasia, or underdeveloped tooth enamel. All of this can result in white spots on the teeth.


What Can I Do About It?


Now that you understand why white spots may have formed in the first place, the next step is to look into options to correct or minimize them. Once the white spots have formed they will rarely go away on their own with changes to diet or oral care, though that may prevent additional spots from forming. There are a variety of cosmetic dentistry options to remove or reduce the appearance of these spots.


Teeth Whitening Treatments.


One option that has proven to be somewhat effective is teeth whitening. By whitening the rest of the tooth, the white spots will be less obvious and are more likely to blend in. There are a variety of teeth whitening options available from over-the-counter whitening products to bleaching procedures done at your dentist’s office.


Porcelain Veneers.


If the white spots are very noticeable and occur on many of your teeth, the most effective option may be to cover them up. Porcelain veneers fit over your existing teeth to give them a new facade. They are designed to match your natural teeth in size and color. The existing teeth are filed down and the porcelain veneers are cemented onto the front of each tooth. Veneers can also correct other cosmetic issues from crooked or misshapen teeth to gaps between the teeth. Porcelain is strong and most resembles natural tooth material. 

Composite veneers are a lower-cost alternative, but are more susceptible to staining and may not last as long as porcelain. Instant veneers are another option made of prefabricated resin, but they are not customized.


Cosmetic Bonding.


Cosmetic bonding uses the same type of material that is used to fill cavities. Composite resin the same color as your teeth (or a whiter shade if that is your goal) is painted over your teeth to give them a new surface. This can cover up the white spots on your teeth.


Remineralizing.


In some cases the teeth can be remineralized in the places where the white spots have formed due to a lack of minerals. This may minimize the discoloration, but it may not completely correct it.


Enamel Microabrasion.


It is a minimally invasive treatment to remove decalcified spots from the teeth.  Special chemical agent and pumice is used to remove the white spots from the enamel.  It will work well with shallow spots while deeper spots are not as predictable.


Kensington Natural Smiles Can Help Eliminate Your White Spots


If you or your child have white spots on your teeth you want to have corrected, Dr. Susan Ho at Kensington Natural Smiles can help. Our office provides a range of cosmetic procedures that can reduce the appearance of white spots on teeth and help prevent them in the future. 

Call (301) 933-3903 today to schedule or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful smile.