Richard Warner, D.D.S.
Warner Family Dentistry in Council Bluffs
Concerned about your breath? Click here for some ideas to counter the horror of halitosis!
Did you know two Council Bluffs streets are named after dentists? They are Clark Street and Woodbury Avenue. Click here to learn more about Dr. Woodbury.
Before becoming concerned about white spots we first need to determine what's causing them.
If it is a young child's teeth it may be nothing to worry about. On baby teeth white spots are actually fairly common and rarely pose a problem.
If it is a permanent tooth you are concerned about the key question is was the spot there when the tooth first erupted? If so it was likely formed by some disturbance when the tooth was forming and odds are it won’t get worse. If it wasn't there in the past or appears to be growing it may be a cavity and you'd better schedule an appointment with us soon.
Probably the most common cause of white spots that form after the teeth develop is acid from beverages. Teeth don’t do well in an acidic environment. The other frequent cause is poor home care around braces. When the braces come off you are left with the white spots.
Of course prevention is always the best thing. Cut back on the acidic drinks and take plaque removal more seriously.
If you have white spots you are concerned about, here’s some things to consider:
- Are these teeth particularly sensitive when you drink something cold or to sweets? If so you had better get it checked out.
- Look closely in a mirror. Does the area appear solid, or is there any kind of hole in the chalky area? A cavity is literally a “hole” and that’s not good. It won’t go away on its own.
- Does the white splotchy area bother you cosmetically? Even if there is no decay or sensitivity these spots can be an esthetic problem.
There are multiple ways to fix them depending upon how extensive the effected area is and whether there is decay present or it is just an issue of appearance. Sometimes we can remineralize the area. Many times just bleaching the teeth will work; the chalky area won’t change but as the tooth structure around it lightens it doesn’t seem so obvious. In other cases we can conservatively remove a little of the effected area and place a tooth colored filling to make it blend in. In severe cases we may need to place a porcelain veneer or crown over the tooth.
Unfortunately there’s not much you can do at home to make the chalky areas look better. If there is no symptoms, decay, or hole in the tooth you can try some over-the-counter white strips. That should make the surrounding tooth lighter yet not effect the white spot, which may make the splotchy area a little less noticeable.
A self diagnosis is risky; the best advice is to get it checked out. Call Karen at our office and she’ll be glad to set up an appointment for you.
Richard Warner, D.D.S. General Dentistry in Council Bluffs, Iowa