Preventing Tooth Decay
White Spot lesions can appear on teeth as a result of the enamel losing calcium, and can often develop after orthodontic treatment. This is because it is often quite difficult to clean around a fixed brace, and a buildup of plaque can result in the tooth surfaces becoming demineralized so white spots develop.
These white spots will often occur around the areas where the brackets were fixed onto the teeth, or they may develop right at the base of the tooth around the gum line.
Some white spot lesions are signs of active caries or tooth decay, while other white spots are actually lesions that have re-mineralized so the tooth is no longer decaying. These lesions have a white, chalky appearance and the tooth isn’t as glossy and shiny as other teeth. The spots are lighter than the surrounding tooth color, and can be found in areas where dental plaque has accumulated.
There are various ways our dentist can treat white spot lesions to help harden the tooth surface and reduce surface stains. Treatment focuses on helping the affected teeth into re-calcify. In addition, our pediatric dentist will also suggest ways of improving brushing and flossing techniques.
Techniques for Treating White Spot Lesions
Monitoring White Spots
Some areas might not require any treatment, for example if the white spot lesions are at a very early stage and damage is minimal. Your dentist will test the tooth to ensure the surface is still hard and fully intact, and tooth remineralization may occur on its own, although the tooth will still have white spots. This type of repair can only occur if the conditions in the mouth are changed, usually by improving brushing and flossing and reducing sugar consumption. Untreated white spot lesions will be regularly monitored by our pediatric dentist for any signs of changes during your child’s regular checkups.
Repairing the Tooth
Other areas may need repair, for example if the tooth surface is rough or pitted or has even begun to develop a cavity. In this case our dentist might need to place some sort of filling material such as white composite resin to help repair the tooth. Sometimes it may be necessary to cover the entire surface of the tooth with a veneer or more extensive dental bonding.
White spot lesions can also be treated with fluoride, as the fluoride helps to re-harden the tooth surface, helping it to re-calcify. There are various ways in which the fluoride can be applied to the tooth, as is sometimes a dentist may treat the surface of the tooth with micro abrasion, removing the top layer of tooth enamel. This helps to remove some of the whitish appearance of the tooth. Fluoride is then topically applied to the tooth to help harden the tooth enamel. Other treatments such as fluoride varnish or fluoride gel or mouthwash might also be recommended.